The Illinois Institute of Technology and Elevate Energy, a nonprofit organization that designs and implements energy-efficiency programs, are teaming up to study the impact of climate change and weatherization on IAQ and chronic health issues in U.S. homes.

“We want to determine how outdoor pollution can get indoors and affect the air you’re breathing every day,” said Brent Stephens, assistant professor of architectural engineering at Illinois Tech. “We hope the results of this study will not only improve the public’s ability to protect the environment and human health, but also improve buildings’ energy efficiency and IAQ.”

Illinois Tech and Elevate Energy are recruiting 30 homes from Chicago, and its surrounding suburbs, to participate in the study to assess the air quality of a dwelling before and after weatherization retrofits are applied. A set of nationally recognize IAQ models will be used to predict long-term concentrations and health risks. The field measurements will be conducted by the Built Environment Research Group at Illinois Tech and include ventilation rates, infiltration factors, indoor deposition rates, and envelope penetration factors for a number of priority pollutants.

“Homeowners who participate in this study will not only provide Illinois Tech with important data for their research, but also defray upfront costs for efficiency upgrades that improve comfort in the home and lower utility bills,” said Emily Robinson, communications and outreach director, Elevate Energy. “If you’re dreading another winter in your drafty home, now’s the time to schedule an assessment. We manage the entire process — connecting homeowners with trustworthy contractors to ensure they receive the most cost-effective efficiency improvements.”

Publication date: 11/23/2015

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