2020 Hankin Lecture to emphasize importance of indoor air quality in U.S. homes

Rachel Fawcett
October 26, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Brett C. Singer, staff scientist, head of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems and lead of the Indoor Environment Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in Berkeley, California, will deliver the 2020 Hankin Distinguished Lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 17. His talk, “Advances, Challenges, and Opportunities for Indoor Air Quality in U.S. Homes,” will begin at 4 p.m. on Zoom.  

The event is free and open to the public. Register for the lecture on the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center website

Man in sunglasses smiles for a close up photo.

Brett C. Singer, staff scientist, head of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems and lead of the Indoor Environment Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, will be the keynote speaker for the 2020 Hankin Distinguished Lecture on Nov. 17, 2020.

IMAGE: Brett C. Singer

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated a decades-long process of Americans becoming more aware of indoor air quality (IAQ) as a health driver in their homes. And while appreciation for the roles of design, construction quality, mechanical equipment performance and durability varies, there appears to be wide appreciation that occupant actions — such as smoking and use of products containing toxic chemicals — can degrade IAQ. There is more awareness that outdoor air pollution impacts IAQ, especially during wildfires; but recognition of mundane sources like natural gas burners, cooking, candles and hobbies is still developing.  

Over the same period, researchers have documented the importance of housing disparities to community health and IAQ has improved in many homes due to lower indoor emissions, decreases in outdoor photochemical air pollution, advances in building and equipment technologies and codes and standards. Despite this progress, we continue to build homes with substantial deficiencies for controlling IAQ. And many existing homes have severe and persistent IAQ hazards. 

Throughout the past decade, Singer has focused on how to synergistically improve indoor air quality and energy performance for high-performance homes, paying special attention to kitchen ventilation, filtration and the performance of low-cost air quality monitors for smart home applications. 

He has conducted and directed research to improve the understanding of air pollutant emissions and controls and the real-world physical-chemical processes that impact exposures in both outdoor and indoor environments. His postdoctoral work on sorption and desorption processes impacting exposures to organic gases from tobacco brought increased attention to the importance surface materials have on indoor air quality and helped start the field of thirdhand tobacco smoke research. Singer has also made impactful contributions to understanding pollutant exposures from cleaning products and combustion appliances. He earned a bachelor of arts in engineering from Temple University and master’s and doctoral degrees in civil and environmental engineering from the University of California, Berkeley.  

Established in 2006 to honor the late Bernard Hankin, the Hankin Distinguished Lecture Series brings world-class speakers to Penn State to address students, faculty, industry members and the general public with thought-provoking topics and education related to the housing industry. 

For more information about the event, visit the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center website.


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Last Updated October 27, 2020