Indoor Air Quality

Air sealing of homes can dramatically reduce uncontrolled airflow that occurs mostly during the times when outdoor temperatures are either much colder or much hotter than those desired inside. This leads to savings in energy and utility bills as less heating or cooling is required. However, without other measures, reducing air exchange with the outdoors increases concentrations and exposures to any air pollutants released indoors.

RBS is conducting research to quantify the levels and sources of pollutants found in indoor air and to analyze the costs and benefits of various exposure mitigation strategies for the residential housing stock. This research guides the development of policies and the setting of standards that promote healthy homes by reducing indoor air pollutant exposures.

Indoor air quality research in RBS is distinguished by (a) integration with our research on efficient ventilation, heating and cooling systems; (b) focus on quantifying effects across the population including existing homes and both conventional and high performance new homes; (c) consideration of source characteristics for analysis of varied mitigation options; (d) use of physics-based models supported with data; and (e) coordination with related activities ongoing at other national labs and research institutes.