Ventilate Right

People spend a majority of their time in their residences. The health impacts of poor indoor air quality can be significant. It is widely accepted that ventilation is critical for providing acceptable indoor air quality in homes. Below are some highlights of the work done as part of the RESAVE program to improve indoor air quality by Ventilating Right.

  • The RESAVE Report includes results of research conducted to identify and prioritize the pollutants that present a health risk in the indoor residential environment. This research includes a hazard assessment of residential pollutants (Logue, McKone et al. 2011) and development and application of a health‐impact assessment framework to quantify the costs of chronic air pollutant exposures in homes (Logue, Price et al. 2011). Results of these related studies are already being used to modify ventilation standards to improve health protection.
  • Residential indoor air quality can be adversely affected by volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are emitted by various sources in homes. Dilution and removal via ventilation is a straightforward and common approach to managing concentrations of pollutants from indoor sources.
  • As a complement to existing datasets that allow cross‐sectional analysis of ventilation impacts on VOC levels, the RESAVE project included design and implementation of a field study in which ventilation rates were varied while environmental factors were either held constant or at least consistent between ventilation settings in new U.S. homes. This field study, termed the Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality study, sought to answer a number of research questions.
  • Cooking activities and natural gas burners can emit significant quantities of pollutants into the indoor space. RESAVE researchers conducted an analysis to assess the impact of natural gas cooking burners on indoor pollutant concentrations and the potential benefits of widespread range hood use.

Evaluating and Optimizing Ventilation

The RESAVE Report provides studies and tools to evaluate, control, and optimize ventilation.

  • The Residential Integrated Ventilation Controller (RIVEC) is a dynamic control system for whole‐house ventilation fans that reduces the energy used to ventilate homes. Research results showed that the RIVEC controller provided equivalent (or better) ventilation compared to those designed in accordance with ASHRAE Standard 62.2.
  • A study was done to investigate the use of flow‐limiting devices and auxiliary fans to create hybrid ventilation systems, where a fan is used only when the airflow in the passive stack (no fan) is too low to provide sufficient ventilation.
  • The residential ventilation commissioning process that we envision is presented, and approaches are described for the literature review and potential value assessment. This study's findings are summarized with benefits to California, and recommendations for future work.
  • As part of the RESAVE project residential ventilation airflows were also evaluated through a selection of flow capture hood devices that are used for measuring airflows in buildings.

More information on ventilation can be found in the Ventilation Guide for New and Existing California Homes, which helps homeowners achieve proper ventilation in existing homes as they weatherize or implement major energy upgrades.