Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality In New Homes
This page finalized April 24, 2008
Chair’s Air Pollution Seminar
Tuesday, May 6, 2008
Ventilation and Indoor
Francis (Bud) J. Offermann
Offermann will present the results of the first major study of
ventilation and indoor air quality (IAQ) in new homes in California.
Concerns have been raised regarding whether households in new
California homes use windows, doors, exhaust fans, and other mechanical
ventilation devices enough to remove indoor air pollutants and excess
moisture. However, few measurements of ventilation and indoor
pollutant levels have been made in California homes of recent vintage.
The goals of this field study were to measure, and analyze the relationships between, ventilation characteristics and IAQ in new, single-family detached homes in California. Information was obtained from 24-hour measurements in 108 homes in multiple seasons and regions of the state to help characterize the full range of exposure to indoor pollutants in such homes. A subset of homes with outdoor air mechanical ventilation systems was also studied.
The study results indicate that all of the homes had indoor levels of formaldehyde that exceeded the Proposition 65 “No Significant Risk Level” for lifetime cancer risk, and most of the homes also exceeded the Proposition 65 level for acetaldehyde. In addition 59% of the homes had indoor levels of formaldehyde that exceeded ARB’s IAQ Guideline of 33 Ķg/m3 (27 ppb) for preventing acute (irritant) health effects. Two-thirds of the homes did not meet the proposed state minimum for outdoor air exchange rates of 0.35 air changes per hour. Over 80% of the homes with the direct outdoor air type of mechanical ventilation system did not meet the proposed state standard for outdoor air exchange, apparently due to short ventilation times and low air flow rates.
Mr. Offermann will discuss these and other results of the study, and their implications for building product selection, home design, and home operation. The California Energy Commission was the primary funding source for this study; they are using the results to help revise ventilation requirements and compliance programs for the state’s building energy efficiency standards. The ARB will use the results to update its assessments of Californians’ exposures to toxic air contaminants and other pollutants, and to recommend effective strategies for reducing indoor air pollution.
Francis (Bud) J. Offermann,
is founder and President of Indoor Environmental Engineering
(IEE), a San Francisco based building science research and consulting
firm. Mr. Offermann directs an interdisciplinary
team of environmental scientists, chemists, and mechanical engineers in
IAQ building investigations, healthy building design projects, and
laboratory chamber measurements of material and consumer product
contaminant emission rates and air cleaner performance.
more information on this Seminar please contact:
a complete listing of the ARB Chairman's Series and the related