NCHH and Partners Receive HUD Grant to Study the Effects of Ventilation on Indoor Contaminants from Gas Stoves
Media Contact: Christopher Bloom, 443.539.4154, email@example.com
COLUMBIA, MD (October 10, 2019) — The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) has received an award from the FY 2019 Lead and Healthy Homes Technical Studies Program to study the effects of ventilation on airborne contaminants produced by gas cooking stoves, according to an announcement made by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this morning.
For Extracting Indoor Pollutants with Proper Ventilation, nicknamed the “EXTRACT Study,” NCHH, the Indoor Climate Research and Training program at the University of Illinois, Tohn Environmental Strategies, and Efficiency Vermont will evaluate the effectiveness of the installation of kitchen range hoods to reduce gas-stove-generated levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and other contaminants compared with the effectiveness of bath exhaust fans. Weatherization providers most commonly achieve compliance with ASHRAE 62.2 whole-house ventilation requirements by installing exhaust fans in bathrooms. While baths generate excess moisture, which needs to be removed from homes to reduce the risk of mold growth, they are farther away from kitchen air pollution sources.
A gaseous byproduct of combustion, nitrogen dioxide has been found to exacerbate respiratory illnesses, such as asthma and COPD. These illnesses result in over 2.8 million emergency department visits annually.
The team will also examine the effects of the interventions on particulate matter, microscopic particles associated with more than 30,000 premature deaths annually in the United States. Furthermore, the team will measure the effects of ventilation on humidity, carbon monoxide (CO), and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, all of which can affect occupant health, either directly or indirectly.
Weatherization providers in Colorado and Illinois expect to provide services to more than 2,000 single-family homes with gas stoves over a two-year period; the team expects to enroll 120 of these homes for the study. Field work will begin next winter, the peak demand season for weatherization services, and concluding during the winter of 2021-22. Homes will be tested before and after the weatherization process is complete. In order to control for smoking-related nitrogen dioxide emissions, homes with residents who smoke will be ineligible.
“The National Center for Healthy Housing is excited to carry out this important research to improve the health of occupants in homes with gas cooking stoves,” said NCHH Deputy Director Jonathan Wilson. “Many studies have shown that homes with gas stoves are at a greater risk of having unhealthy levels of indoor contaminants. This study will investigate whether installing affordable energy-efficient exhaust fans over stoves are more effective at improving indoor air quality than installing bathroom exhaust fans.”
Indoor Climate Research and Training (a program of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Applied Research Institute) previously worked with NCHH on the HEALTH-V project, which found statistically significant indoor air quality (IAQ) benefits from mechanical ventilation installed according to then-current standards, and on the BARRIER and BARRIER-X projects, which will help to determine whether low-cost passive radon prevention measures were effective at preventing negative impacts on radon levels from energy efficiency retrofits.
Led by nationally recognized healthy housing expert and frequent NCHH partner Ellen Tohn, Tohn Environmental Strategies is an environmental and health policy consulting firm dedicated to providing clients with both technical and strategic help. Tohn Environmental Strategies is currently working with NCHH on the BARRIER-X project.
Efficiency Vermont’s technical service, objective advice and financial support help to create healthier and more comfortable homes. Their technical expertise will help to ensure that EXTRACT is a success.
Weatherization field work at the two study locations, Colorado and Illinois, will be performed by the City of Fort Collins and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, respectively.
To ensure that participation by providers is not cost prohibitive, Air King America, a manufacturer of ASHRAE 62.2-compliant kitchen range hood exhaust fans, will partner with the study team by providing fans at cost.
Said NCHH’s Jonathan Wilson, “We’re thrilled that Air King America, a U.S.-based manufacturer of both bathroom and kitchen exhaust systems, will be supporting us on this project. We also look forward to be working with our excellent field partners including the University of Illinois, Efficiency Vermont, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the City of Fort Collins, and Tohn Environmental Strategies.”
In total, HUD awarded $8.388 million in grants – approximately $1.7 million more than in 2018 – to seven universities and two public health organizations in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to study or improve methods for identifying and controlling residential health risks, including poor indoor air quality, lead in paint and water, and pesticides.
“Today, we make an investment in the science behind protecting families from potentially dangerous lead and other home health hazards,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson in the agency’s official press release. “As a doctor for many years, I witnessed how lead and other hazards can impact young children. You can’t be healthy if your home is sick. These grants will improve our knowledge about how to improve living conditions inside our homes.”
About the National Center for Healthy Housing
The National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH) is the preeminent national nonprofit dedicated to securing healthy homes for all. Since 1992, NCHH has served as a highly regarded and credible change agent, successfully integrating healthy housing advocacy, research, and capacity building under one roof to reduce health disparities nationwide. You can follow NCHH on Twitter (@nchh) or LinkedIn or become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthyHousing.