Ventilation Research Projects

Indoor air quality is important. Pollutant concentrations can be two to five times higher indoors than outdoors. Poor indoor air quality can result in higher rates of respiratory irritation and illness and, in the case of excessive carbon monoxide, death. Types of indoor air hazards include:

  • Combustion byproducts including carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides
  • Particulate matter
  • Environmental tobacco smoke
  • Formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
  • Moisture and associated mold growth

Contaminants can be addressed by

  • Source control,
  • Filtration (for particulates),
  • Dehumidification (for moisture), and
  • Proper ventilation to replace contaminated air with fresher air.

Homes should be air-sealed tightly and then correctly ventilated. Homes need designed pathways to allow contaminants to exit the building and fresh air to enter the building. The air we breathe should not come through places such as musty crawl spaces or moldy walls; fresh air should come from areas outside that are not near contaminants.

Although ventilation is a fundamental principle of a healthy home, questions still remain about the optimal level of ventilation and the effects of ventilation on contaminants. NCHH has been engaged in research to help answer these questions.

Since achieving healthy housing involves taking a holistic view of the home, some of the research projects listed below may not only be about ventilation; however, ventilation is a component of each project.

NCHH’s Ventilation Research Projects

DC Green Housing Rehabilitation
Venting for Health

*This is a current research project.

Recommended Reading

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. (2018). Indoor air quality scientific findings resource bank. Online.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (2016, October 14). Improving indoor air quality. Online.

Francisco, P. W., Jacobs, D. E., Targos, L., Dixon, S. L., Breysse, J., Rose, W., & Cali, S. (2017, March). Ventilation, indoor air quality, and health in homes undergoing weatherization. Indoor Air, 27(2), 463-477.

Lajoie, P., Aubin, D., Gingras, V., Daigneault, P., Ducharme, F., Gauvin, D., Fugler, D., Leclerc, J. M., Won, D., Courteau, M., Gingras, S., Héroux, M. E., Yang, W., & Schleibinger, H. (2015, December 30). The IVAIRE project – A randomized controlled study of the impact of ventilation on indoor air quality and the respiratory symptoms of asthmatic children in single family homes. Indoor Air, 25(6), 582-597.

Sundell, J., Levin, H., Nazaroff, W. W., Cain, W. S., Fisk, W. J., Grimsrud, D. T., Gyntelberg, F., Li Y., Persily, A. K., Pickering, A. C., Samet, J. M., Spengler, J. D., Taylor, S. T., & Weschler, C. J. (2011, June). Ventilation rates and health: Multidisciplinary review of the scientific literature. Indoor Air, 21(3), 191-204.

Wright, G. R., Howieson, S., McSharry, C., McMahon, A. D., Chaudhuri, R., Thompson, J., Donnelly, I., Brooks, R. G., Lawson, A., Jolly, L., McAlpine, L., King, E. M., Chapman, M. D., Wood, S., & Thomson, N. C. (2009, August). Effect of improved home ventilation on asthma control and house dust mite allergen levels. Allergy, 64(11), 1671-1680. Full text.