Jared Langevin Wins Drexel’s Best Dissertation Award

BSEG Ph.D. Candidate Jared Langevin has been announced as the winner of Drexel’s 2014 Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation Award competition in the category of Mathematical Sciences and Engineering!

The Outstanding Dissertation Awards are presented to doctoral students graduating at each Commencement who have written outstanding dissertations that reflect great research.  Students are nominated by their department, and their applications are reviewed by an Award Committee on the basis of originality and creativity of the work, output and impact of the work on the field, recognition by others, and student standing amongst peers.

Jared was recognized for his thesis titled “Human Behavior & Low Energy Architecture: Linking Environmental Adaptation, Personal Comfort, & Energy Use in the Built Environment”.  The thesis develops a Human and Building Interaction Toolkit (HABIT) for integrated simulation of occupant thermal comfort, related adaptive behaviors, and energy use as part of sustainable building design and operation.  Read the thesis abstract here.



Adams Rackes Wins NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

BSEG Ph.D. student Adams Rackes has been awarded the prestigious 2014 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship!  The Graduate Research Fellowship “helps ensure the vitality of the human resource base of science and engineering in the United States and reinforces its diversity”.  More about the fellowship can be read here.

Adams was one of 2,000 students selected for the Fellowship this year out of over 14,000 applications.  With this award, the BSEG group has now collectively won three NSF Graduate Research Fellowships in its relatively short existence (the others: Jared Langevin and Lisa Chen Ng).

Congratulations to Adams on this great achievement!

Position Summary:  The Building Science and Engineering Group (BSEG) in the Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering at Drexel University is looking for a post doctoral researcher to work on a research project focusing on fault diagnosis for HVAC systems. This project is funded by the Department of Energy through the Energy Efficient Building HUB. Qualified candidates should have a PhD degree in relevant engineering disciplines. Individuals with evidence of experience in scholarly research and strong oral and written communication skill are encouraged to apply. More specifically, we are looking for a candidate who has satisfactory background in statistics, data analysis, and programming. Qualified candidate is expected to start to work from as early as May 1st, 2014. Appointments are for one year with the possibility of renewal pending satisfactory performance and continued funding. Applicants should contact Professor Jin Wen (jinwen@drexel.edu) for further information. More information about the BSEG @ Drexel can be found: http://bseg.cae.drexel.edu.

Adams Rackes Named a 2014 Fulbright Finalist

BSEG Ph.D. candidate Adams Rackes was recently named a finalist for the Fulbright US Student Program for study or research abroad in 2014-15.  Adams has proposed collaborating with indoor air quality leader Roberto Lamberts of Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina in Brazil, with the goal of developing a labeling system for naturally ventilated buildings.

Having been chosen as a finalist, Adams’s application will now be passed to the host country of Brazil for final selection, with a decision expected in April or May.  We wish Adams the best of luck!

The Drexel press release on Adams’s selection can be read here, with more about the Fulbright program here.

Jared Langevin Wins 1st Place at Drexel IEEE Graduate Poster Competition

BSEG Ph.D. candidate Jared Langevin has won 1st place in the 2014 Drexel IEEE Graduate Research Forum Poster Competition for his thesis project titled “Human Behavior and Low Energy Architecture: Linking Environmental Adaptation, Personal Comfort, and Energy Use in the Built Environment”.  The competition gave graduate students the opportunity to present their research work to the broader Drexel Engineering community.  The poster can be viewed below.



Project Title:

Particle Generation in HVAC Systems due to Ozone/Terpene Reactions

Principle Investigator:

Chunyi Wang

Funding Source:

National Science Foundation


Secondary organic aerosols (SOA) are generated indoors because of terpenoids ozonolysis, potentially from both gas phase reactions and surface reactions. Studies have investigated the amount of SOA formation indoors due to reactions in occupied space yet no study has examined SOA contribution from HVAC systems. To investigate the magnitude of this formation, plug-flow and mixing equations were developed to predict steady state ozone, d-limonene, and SOA concentrations within an HVAC system. The model considers return air species that are mixed with outdoor air species in an air handling unit, which are transported via the supply duct to the occupied space. SOA formation was separately accounted for due to both gas- and surface-phase reactions, using experimental data on surface-initiated SOA formation due to ozone reactions with sorbed d-limonene from earlier research. The SOA equations use the ‘volatility basis set’ to determine aerosol mass fractions, which parameterize the strength of the formation.Key parameters such as temperature, air exchange rate, outdoor organic compound concentrations are considered.

Adams Rackes Receives Giegerich Scholarship

BSEG doctoral student Adams Rackes is a recent recipient of The Steven E. Giegerich Memorial Scholarship. The Drexel Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering Department selected Kerry Hamilton, Kimberlee Marcellus, and Rackes to receive the scholarship, which is awarded annually to one or more graduate students in the Department. In 1984, John Giegerich established this scholarship to honor his son Steven. While a student at Drexel, Steven passed away in a motorcycle accident. Since its founding, more than 40 Drexel students have benefited from the scholarship. In addition to this generous gift, Mr. Giegerich hosts an annual luncheon that provides the opportunity for current and past scholarship recipients to meet.

More on the award and recipients can be found here.


BSEG members Ran Liu and Jared Langevin are first authors of two new publications out in the journal Building & Environment.  Citations follow:

Liu R, Wen J, Waring M. (2013). Improving Airflow Measurement Accuracy in VAV Terminal Units Using Flow Conditioners. Building & Environment, Accepted.

Langevin, J., Wen J., & Gurian P.L. (2013). Modeling thermal comfort holistically: Bayesian estimation of thermal sensation, acceptability, and preference distributions for office building occupants.  Building and Environment. 69: 206-226.