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Ranking Interventions to Improve Inner-City Housing Indoor Air Quality



Steven J. Emmerich, Cynthia H. Reed


The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has identified a need to improve urban housing conditions to protect children s health through its Healthy Homes Initiative (HHI). One critical area within this program is to address a wide range of indoor air quality (IAQ) concerns (e.g., inadequate ventilation, combustion by-products, etc.) with an effective intervention strategy. To evaluate the impact of different interventions on indoor contaminant concentrations and occupant exposures, a simulation study was conducted with the multizone airflow and contaminant dispersal model CONTAM. This study modeled the exposures of a family of five to concentrations of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, water vapor, nitrogen dioxide, 0.3 mm to 10 mm particles, radon, and volatile organic compounds in a three-story townhouse. The model included leakage characteristics of the house, ambient weather conditions, indoor environmental conditions, outdoor and indoor sources of the contaminants as well as adsorption and deposition loss mechanisms. With these inputs, CONTAM was used to predict ventilation rates, contaminant concentrations and occupant exposures for a baseline case and combinations of four different interventions based on a factorial simulation design. The interventions included tightening the envelope, adding mechanical ventilation, using kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, and installing a higher efficiency air filter. A statistical analysis ranked the interventions individually and in combination for each study contaminant. Overall, a combination of mechanical ventilation, local exhaust, and an improved air filter was most effective for reducing the largest number of contaminants in the study. Except for contaminants originating primarily out
Proceedings Title
Annual Conference of the Air and Waste Management Association
Conference Dates
June 21-24, 2005
Conference Location
Minneapolis, MN


air cleaning, contaminants, exposure, indoor air quality, modeling, residential building, ventilation


Emmerich, S. and Reed, C. (2005), Ranking Interventions to Improve Inner-City Housing Indoor Air Quality, Annual Conference of the Air and Waste Management Association, Minneapolis, MN (Accessed June 24, 2024)


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Created June 24, 2005, Updated February 19, 2017