How does indoor environmental quality impact student learning and health? And what are equitable solutions for urban residents in Philadelphia where summers are hotter than ever?
In her role as the 2023 Kleckner Scientist in Residence, Simi Hoque, Ph.D., P.E., a professor of architectural engineering at Drexel University, explored these questions and conducted experiments related to indoor air quality alongside our students last week. They measured and analyzed real-time air quality data, both at home and at school. “Making sense of data that they also actually feel (heat, humidity, etc) was a great experience,” says Erik Dreisbach, Middle School science teacher.
Students followed with an investigation of Philadelphia neighborhoods, looking at factors affecting the heat quality index scores in various neighborhoods (trees, paved surfaces, etc.) and its connection to environmental justice and the resultant disparities in health outcomes in those neighborhoods.
Hoque, a licensed professional engineer, focuses on health in buildings and how vulnerable populations are impacted by indoor thermal, acoustic, and luminous conditions. She is currently working on the development of analytical methods to predict the impact of climate change on building energy consumption over the lifecycle of a building, specifically looking at the impacts of extreme heat events.
The Science Department has welcomed a scientist in residence since 2007. This year, thanks to gracious funding of the Kleckner Fund—honoring longtime science department member Florence Kleckner—the department was also able to purchase new air monitors.