Why We Ventilate
It is widely accepted that ventilation is critical for providing good indoor air quality (IAQ) in homes. However, the definition of "good" IAQ, and the most effective, energy efficient methods for delivering it are still matters of research and debate. This paper presents the results of work done at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab to identify the air pollutants that drive the need for ventilation as part of a larger effort to develop a health-based ventilation standard. First, we present results of a hazard analysis that identified the pollutants that most commonly reach concentrations in homes that exceed health-based standards or guidelines for chronic or acute exposures. Second, we present results of an impact assessment that identified the air pollutants that cause the most harm to the U.S. population from chronic inhalation in residences. Lastly, we describe the implications of our findings for developing effective ventilation standards.