2016 Progress Report: Integrated Measurements and Modeling Using US Smart Homes to Assess Climate Change Impacts on Indoor Air QualityEPA Grant Number: R835756
Title: Integrated Measurements and Modeling Using US Smart Homes to Assess Climate Change Impacts on Indoor Air Quality
Investigators: Lamb, Brian , Cook, Diane , Jobson, B. Thomas , Kirk, W. Max , Pressley, Shelley N. , Walden, Von P.
Institution: Washington State University
EPA Project Officer: Ilacqua, Vito
Project Period: November 1, 2014 through October 31, 2017 (Extended to October 31, 2018)
Project Period Covered by this Report: November 1, 2015 through October 31,2016
Project Amount: $996,588
RFA: Indoor Air and Climate Change (2014) RFA Text | Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Climate Change , Air
The overall goal is to improve our understanding of the complex intersection between indoor air quality and climate change. Our objectives are to address three specific science questions: (1) How do local climate conditions, including extremes in the range of weather conditions, affect indoor air quality factors, including energy consumption, ventilation rates, occupant behavior and indoor pollution levels? Are there generalizations that occur across the ensemble of buildings and locations? (2) How well does the CONTAM indoor air quality model perform for the range of conditions and buildings in our Smart Home ensemble? (3) For future climate conditions, what are the projected indoor air quality levels in a set of buildings representative of U.S. housing stocks, and how sensitive are these levels to plausible changes in building properties and human behavior?
Our research program involves automated ventilation rate and indoor/outdoor air quality measurements in selected houses to yield a database for assessment of the effects of climate variability, including extreme weather events, on occupant behavior, energy consumption and corresponding indoor air quality. To date, we have sampled six houses during winter and summer periods. This report briefly summarizes initial results from these measurements. The results include periods for two houses with extensive outdoor smoke from wildland fires. Overall, results show typical, low penetration rates for fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and ozone in the range of 5–20 percent and elevated volatile organic compound levels indoors due to a variety of indoor sources. These data are also being used for evaluation of the CONTAM indoor air quality model, which in turn will be used to investigate how changes in climate, derived for the 2050s from downscaled climate and air quality projections, affect indoor air quality. We have implemented CONTAM on our high-performance computing cluster and designed a matrix of simulations for the current and future global change analyses. Results from this work have been presented at a number of technical meetings during the past year, and two draft manuscripts have been prepared for submission to peer-reviewed journals.
The emphasis in the third year is on completion of the measurements in the last set of homes for summer and winter and analysis of all of the measurement results. Several papers are envisioned based on the measurement data set. We will also complete CONTAM modeling of the test houses and evaluation of the model performance. The matrix of current and future climate simulations will be conducted to assess the effects of global change on indoor air quality in the United States.