The Built Environment Research Group (BERG) is the research group of Dr. Brent Stephens in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology. BERG is dedicated to investigating problems and solutions related to energy and air quality within the built environment. We work on projects ranging from measuring exposures to indoor air pollution to dynamic building energy modeling.
If you are interested in (1) working with, (2) sponsoring, or (3) learning more about the Built Environment Research Group, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are always looking for motivated students interested in architectural engineering, environmental engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, or architecture to work in the group.
If you are new to grad school at IIT or are interested in learning more about how BERG operates, take a look at our compilation of information for new graduate students.
In June 2021, Dr. Stephens and Dr. Elliott Gall (assistant professor at Portland State University) were invited to present their work, “Navigating the Landscape of Air Cleaning Technologies for COVID-19,” to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Science Webinar Series. You can watch the presentation below.
In June 2019, Dr. Stephens and Dr. Parham Azimi (formerly a PhD student working with BERG @ IIT and then a postdoctoral researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health) were invited to present their research, “Estimating the Mortality Burden of Fine Particulate Matter Exposure Attributable to Indoor and Outdoor Microenvironments,” to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Science Webinar Series. You can watch the presentation below.
In June 2016, Dr. Stephens was invited to present at the 2nd meeting of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee on Microbiomes of the Built Environment: From Research to Application in Washington, DC. You can download his slides or watch his presentation below.
In February 2016, Dr. Stephens was invited to present at a Workshop on the Health Risks of Indoor Exposure to Particulate Matter hosted by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in Washington, DC. Download his presentation here, or watch it below.
In 2016, we were featured in a CBS Chicago piece on our work characterizing gas and particle emissions from desktop 3D printers. Watch the video below.
In 2015, we were featured in two articles in the IIT Magazine, including the appropriately titled “Paging Dr. Building” and an article about our unoccupied test apartments titled “Area 51? No. studioE.”
In 2014, we worked with investigators at CBS Chicago to investigate air quality on Metra regional trains and inside train stations in downtown Chicago. We found some alarming levels of particulate matter pollutants as described in our blog. Watch the video below.
Also in 2014, Dr. Stephens gave a presentation for the group called Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces (ROCIS), “Indoor Exposures to Outdoor Air Pollution,” which is available here. Thanks to the Heinz Endowment and ROCIS team for putting this on!
Our 2013 paper in Atmospheric Environment, “Ultrafine particle emissions from desktop 3D printers”, has been the subject of several recent news reports, including articles on phys.org, Gizmodo, IEEE Spectrum, Huffington Post, Fast Company Co.Exist, and internationally in The Daily Mail, The Telegraph, and Le Monde. It also continues to be the most downloaded paper in Atmospheric Environment in the last 90 days!
Working with BERG
If you are interested in working with us as a graduate student, you should submit an application to the Graduate Admissions office at IIT with a note describing your intent to work with Dr. Stephens and the Built Environment Research Group. You may also contact Dr. Stephens directly with questions prior to submitting your application.