Teaching the (real) world about indoor air quality

I was recently encouraged to post this video I made with a couple of classmates while I was in graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin (the other “actors” are Laura Reed, now a PhD student in water resources at Tufts University, and Sarah Taylor Lange, who just finished her PhD in concrete materials at UT-Austin). At the risk of losing all credibility, I present to you “Real World IAQ”….

We made these videos as part of a technical communication exchange course, which was part of an NSF IGERT Program in Indoor Environmental Science and Engineering at UT (PIs included microBEnet affiliates Rich Corsi, Jeff Siegel, and Kerry Kinney). The goal was to make a 2-minute video about indoor air quality issues, but we also had to place logos in the background for ISIAQ (International Society of Indoor Air Quality and Climate) and Indoor Air 2011 (ISIAQ’s flagship conference, which was being held in Austin that year). Our class made several of these, which we then used to demonstrate to other students around the world how to (roughly) go about making their own similar videos for a student video competition at Indoor Air 2011. With our video we were trying to communicate a few basic ideas of IAQ in homes but in a humorous manner so maybe it was a little easier to digest. We crafted our Real World scenario around an inconsiderate roommate who wasn’t aware of issues like smoking indoors (which emits a combination of particles and gases), cooking on gas stoves without a range hood and burning candles candles (which primarily emits very small particles), or tracking in pesticides (SVOCs) and microbes from outdoors.

There are several other videos from this effort still floating around on Youtube:

Unfortunately voting for these closed about two and a half years ago, but Indoor Air 2014 in Hong Kong is having a cartoon competition for students!! Current students should enter!


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Brent Stephens

Brent Stephens is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL. He and members of his Built Environment Research Group at IIT conduct energy and air quality research within the built environment, primarily with field measurements in and around buildings. Their work continues to advance building science methods for assessing energy efficiency, indoor air quality, and environmental exposures within buildings.