Established in 1963, the Institute for Environmental Research is an interdisciplinary research center for the study of the thermal interaction of people and their surroundings. It is one of the few centers in the world with the controlled environmental chambers and supporting instrumentation necessary to study the aspect of human thermal comfort, indoor air quality and building design. The institute is part of the College of Engineering.
The Institute for Environmental Research does research regarding thermal comfort, thermal stress, clothing systems, indoor environmental engineering and other related topics. Contract research has been conducted for a number of government agencies including the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, the Federal Emergency Management Administration, U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and for numerous private companies large and small.