Effective Kitchen Ventilation for Healthy Zero Net Energy Homes with Natural Gas

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Past studies indicate that kitchen ventilation that minimally complies with California’sResidential Building Code is inadequate at controlling combustion pollutants from natural gas burners and particulate matter produced during cooking. Effectiveness is further limited by misperceptionsthat kitchen ventilation is infrequently needed. Thisproject developedthetechnical basis for updating kitchen ventilation requirementsto protect health in new California homes, especially in smaller homes common among low-income renters. Tasks included (1) a field study of ventilation equipment performance and indoor air quality in 23 low-income apartments at four sites; (2) analysis of range hood use related to cooking time and household parameters using data from 54 housesand 17 low-income apartments; (3)a measurement-based study to quantify performance of over-the-range microwave ovens with integratedexhaustfans;and (4) pollutant exposure simulations to inform capture efficiency standards.The field study found operational deficiencies with mechanical ventilation systems in a substantial fraction of low-income apartmentsthat affectedperformance, resulting in higher exposures to pollutants generated indoors. Using gas cooking burners producedhigh short-term and weekly time-averaged nitrogen dioxide in apartments.Range hoods wereusedmore frequentlywith cooking in houses (36percent) than apartments (28percent); use increased with overall cooking frequencyin ahome and with duration of cooktop but notoven events; actual use was correlated to, but lower than,self-reported use;and use was more frequent in houses when cooking generated any fine particulate matter (PM2.5)or when high PM2.5resulted from cooking in apartments. Performance of over-the-range microwaves with integrated exhaust fans was similar to that of range hoods of comparable price. Simulation analysis found that performance standards need to be updated to ensure that kitchen exhaust ventilation adequatelyprotectsfor substantial cooking in new California residences.

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