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  Dr. Brent Stephens is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. He received his Ph.D. in Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2012. He also received his his M.S.E. in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering from UT-Austin in 2009 and his B.S.E. in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Technological University in 2007. At UT he was a member of an NSF IGERT program in Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering until 2011, when he was awarded a Continuing Fellowship from the Graduate School at UT-Austin. 
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Visit the homepage of Dr. Stephens' Built Environment Research Group at IIT.

Most recent blog post:
  • Accepted a faculty position In spring 2012, I accepted a tenure track faculty position at Illinois Institute of Technology and have since been living and working in Chicago! I have transitioned from updating this ...
    Posted Aug 18, 2013, 10:38 AM by Brent Stephens
Showing posts 1 - 1 of 78. View more »



Research Interests
  • Building energy consumption, including residential and light-commercial HVAC operation
  • Energy implications of control technologies for indoor pollutants
  • Novel in-situ pollutant and energy testing techniques
  • Human exposure assessments of indoor pollutants
  • Energy and environmental policy
  • Public health assessments and interventions
In my recent research, I have developed and applied novel methods for measuring the fate and transport of indoor pollutants in low-rise residential and light-commercial buildings, as well as their implications for energy consumption and peak electricity demand. I have recently published several papers that make up my dissertation: (1) characterizing the operation of 17 HVAC systems in 14 buildings in Austin, TX, focusing on factors affecting both energy and indoor air quality; (2) using some values from (1) and a large database of nearly 5000 energy audits on single-family homes in Austin to estimate the energy and peak demand impacts of common air-conditioner design and installation issues in homes; (3) refining a method for measuring the particle removal efficiency of HVAC systems in low-rise residential and light-commercial buildings, focusing on the effects of filters, bypass airflow, and return and supply duct leakage; (4) developing and applying a novel test method to measure outdoor ozone penetration across building envelopes; and (5) refining a method to measure the penetration of outdoor particulate matter across building envelopes and into buildings, and exploring the ability to infer particle penetration using simple and widespread air leakage testing.

Publications (for educational purposes only; contact the publication directly for permission to use)

In preparation, under review, or recently accepted
  1. Stephens, B. and Siegel, J.A. Penetration of ambient submicron particles into single-family residences and associations with building characteristics. Accepted to Indoor Air, March 2012 (pdf early-view | online early-view).

Published in refereed journals

  1. Stephens, B., Gall, E.T., and Siegel, J.A. 2012. Measuring the penetration of ambient ozone into residential buildings. Environmental Science and Technology 46(2):929-936. (pdf | web).
  2. Stephens, B. and Siegel, J.A. 2012. Comparison of test methods for determining the particle removal efficiency of filters in residential and light-commercial central HVAC systems. Aerosol Science and Technology 46(5), 504-513 (pdf | web).
  3. Rhodes, J.D., Stephens, B., and Webber, M.E. 2011. Using energy audits to investigate the impacts of common air-conditioning design and installation issues on peak power demand and energy consumption in Austin, Texas. Energy and Buildings 43(11), 3271-3278 (pdf | web).
  4. Stephens, B., Siegel, J.A., and Novoselac, A. 2011. Operational characteristics of residential and light-commercial air-conditioning systems in a hot and humid climate zone. Building and Environment 46(10), 1972-1983 (pdf | web).
  5. Stephens, B., Novoselac, A., and Siegel, J.A. 2010. The effects of filtration on pressure drop and energy consumption in residential HVAC systems (RP-1299). HVAC&R Research 16(3), 273-294 (pdf | web).
  6. Stephens, B., Siegel, J.A., and Novoselac, A. 2010. Energy implications of filtration in residential and light-commercial buildings (RP-1299). ASHRAE Transactions 116(1), 346-357  (pdf | web).
Other (editorials, blog posts, etc.)
  1. Carter, E., Earnest, C.M., Gall, E.T., and Stephens, B. 2012. Progress and priorities in reducing indoor air pollution in developing countries. Indoor Air, 22, 1-2 [Editorial] (pdf).
  2. Stephens, B. and Rhodes, J. House Calls: Finding energy inefficiencies using residential energy audits. Guest post on Scientific American's blog network: Plugged In (web).
  3. Rhodes, J. and Stephens. B. Tighten up your house, but not too much.... Guest post on Scientific American's blog network: Plugged In (web).
  4. Stephens, B., Carter, E.M, Gall, E.T., Earnest, C.M., Hun, D.E., Jackson, M.C., and Walsh, E.A. 2011. Home energy-efficiency retrofits. Environmental Health Perspectives 119(7), A283 [Correspondence article] (web | pdf).
  5. Carter, E., Earnest, C., Gall, E., Guerrero, P., Hun, D., Jackson, M., Lo, J., Stephens, B., and Walsh, E. 2009. Priorities in indoor environmental science and health, as students see them. Indoor Air 19(6), 444-445 [Editorial] (pdf).
Conference proceedings
  1. Stephens, B. and Siegel, J.A. Particle penetration into single-family residences: correlations with results from fan pressurization tests. Accepted to the Second International Conference on Building Energy and Environment (COBEE 2012).
  2. Gall, E.T., Stephens, B., Corsi, R.L., and Siegel, J.A. The impact of effective diffusion coefficients on transport and reaction to porous indoor materials. Accepted to the Second International Conference on Building Energy and Environment (COBEE 2012).
  3. Rhodes, J., Stephens, B., and Webber, M.E. 2012. Energy audit analysis of residential air-conditioning systems in Austin, Texas. 2012 ASHRAE Winter Conference.
  4. Stephens, B. and Siegel, J.A. Novel methods to measure the penetration of particulate matter and ozone into residences. 2011 International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) Conference.
  5. Stephens, B. and Siegel, J.A. Penetration of particulate matter into residential buildings: relationship with building air leakage characteristics. 30th Annual Conference of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR), 2011, Orlando, FL.
  6. Stephens, B. and Siegel, J.A. A refined whole-house method to determine the in-situ particle removal efficiency of HVAC filters in residences. 30th Annual Conference of the American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR), 2011, Orlando, FL.
  7. Stephens, B. and Siegel, J.A. Comparison of HVAC filter test methods for particle removal efficiency. Indoor Air 2011, Austin, TX.
  8. Stephens, B., Gall, E.T., and Siegel, J.A. A method for measuring ozone penetration through the building envelope. Indoor Air 2011, Austin, TX. 
  9. Stephens, B. Modeling the effects of geography and climate on a net zero energy residence powered by solar PV in six climates. Engineering Sustainability 2011, Pittsburgh, PA.
  10. Stephens, B. Modeling a net-zero energy residence: combining passive and active design strategies in six climates. In the Proceedings of the ASHRAE 2011 Winter Conference, Las Vegas, NV. (paper pdf | presentation pdf)
  11. Jackson, M. and Stephens, B. Contribution of wall cavity insulation to formaldehyde levels in a space. In the Proceedings of Healthy Buildings 2009, Syracuse, NY.
  12. Stephens, B., Novoselac, A., and Siegel, J.A. 2009. Impacts of HVAC filtration on air-conditioner energy consumption in residences. In the Proceedings of Healthy Buildings 2009, Syracuse, NY. (paper pdf | presentation pdf)
Conference Posters
  1. Stephens, B, Siegel, J.A. Novel methods to measure the penetration of particulate matter and ozone into residences. International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) 2011 Annual Conference. (pdf)
  2. Stephens, B., Gall, E.T., and Siegel, J.A. A method for measuring ozone penetration through the building envelope. Indoor Air 2011, Austin, TX. (pdf)
  3. Stephens, B, Siegel, J.A. Do heating and air-conditioning filters affect energy use or indoor air quality? Finalist in 2011 IGERT Online Poster Competition. (IGERT link w/ audio | pdf)
  4. Stephens, B. Modeling the effects of geography and climate on a net-zero energy residence. UT Energy Forum 2011, Austin, TX. (pdf)
  5. Stephens, B., Siegel, J.A., and Novoselac, A. 2010. Energy implications of filtration in residential and light-commercial buildings (RP-1299). ASHRAE 2010 Winter Conference, Orlando, FL. (pdf)
Society Memberships
  • American Society for Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)
  • International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate (ISIAQ)
    • Became first student board member, 2011
  • International Society of Exposure Science (ISES)
  • American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR)
  • American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • National Air Filtration Association (NAFA)
University Documents
Ph.D. Dissertation
Characterizing the impacts of air-conditioning systems, filters, and building envelopes on exposures to indoor pollutants and energy consumption in residential and light-commercial buildings (pdf)

Ph.D. Proposal
Novel methods of characterizing the fate and transport of pollutants in residential and light-commercial buildings (pdf)

Master's Thesis
Energy implications of filters in residential and light-commercial HVAC systems, 2009 (pdf)