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Ventilation and IAQ in New California Homes

Spring 2019
A version of this article appears in the Spring 2019 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 01, 2019
Starting in the mid-2000s, the California Energy Commission funded several research studies (for example, Price, et al., 2007, and Offermann, 2009) that aimed to evaluate the potential indoor air quality (IAQ) impacts associated with envelope air sealing, and the potential to mitigate these through the use of mechanical ventilation systems. These studies found (1) that a majority of the households in new California homes reported not opening windows regularly for ventilation in some seasons, and a substantial minority of households reported not using windows to ventilate during any season; (2) that actual, measured ventilation rates in many homes were below target minimum levels; and (3) that the median measured formaldehyde concentration across study homes was 4 times the chronic reference exposure level set by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.

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