Students, faculty, and staff attending 2016 Hankin Lecture by Sam Rashkin

2020 Hankin Lecture

The lecture recording is available here.

When: November 17, 2020 at 4:00pm EST

Where: Virtual

The PHRC welcomes 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, as the 2020 Hankin Distinguished Lecturer. His lecture is entitled Advances, Challenges, and Opportunities for Indoor Air Quality in U.S. Homes. 

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.

Read the Penn State press release here.

About the Hankin Distinguished Lecture Series

The Hankin Distinguished Lecture series, hosted by Penn State’s residential construction program and the PHRC, was established in 2006 to honor the late Bernard Hankin and his family for their continuous and dedicated support of the residential construction program at Penn State. It brings world-class speakers to Penn State to address students, faculty, industry members and the public with thought-provoking topics and education related to the housing industry. The residential construction program and the PHRC are administered within Penn State’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering. The lecture series is free and open to the public.

The full length videos for lectures from 2007-present are available for online viewing on our website. 

Portrait of Brett Singer

About Brett Singer

Brett C. Singer is a staff scientist, head of Sustainable Energy and Environmental Systems and lead of the Indoor Environment Group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 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 post-doctoral 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.



The Pennsylvania Housing Research Center serves the home building industry and the residents of Pennsylvania by improving the quality and affordability of housing.

We conduct applied research, foster the development and commercialization of innovative technologies, and transfer appropriate technologies to the housing community.

Pennsylvania Housing Research Center

219 Sackett Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2341

Fax: 814-863-7304