A Generalized Method to Evaluate Strategies to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Residential Buildings
Widder, Sarah Heilman
MetadataShow full item record
Indoor air quality is complicated and has many, often competing variables that impact the resultant concentrations of contaminants in homes. In addition, there are a variety of different strategies available to address indoor air quality. Currently, existing indoor air quality studies and models are also complex and limited to the specific situations analyzed. In order to consider the appropriate application of indoor air quality mitigation approaches more broadly, it is necessary to better understand the varied sources of indoor air contaminants and how different mitigation approaches (alone or in combination) will affect those sources. This work hypothesizes that a simplified, general model can be developed to consider the varied sources of indoor air contaminants and how different mitigation approaches may affect those sources, while simplifying several other input parameters. This work develops such a general model and examines the validity and usefulness of this generalized model by using it to quantify the impact of two different ventilation approaches (a continuous exhaust ventilation strategy compared to a runtime ventilation strategy) on two key indoor air compounds (CO2 and formaldehyde) based on primary data gathered in 10 homes in Gainesville, FL. The findings from applying this generalized indoor air quality source model to the Gainesville data found the ventilation approaches to be similarly effective at reducing CO2 concentrations, based on the supplied ventilation rates, but suggest that the continuous exhaust ventilation strategy may not be as effective as the runtime ventilation strategy at reducing formaldehyde concentrations. Applying this model to the body of literature surrounding different indoor air quality contaminants of concern, their source(s), and the efficacy of different indoor air quality mitigation approaches suggests that, through such an analysis framework, we can understand general trends in the literature and reach conclusions regarding the relative efficacy of different indoor air quality mitigation approaches for different contaminants. This type of comparative information is important to enable comprehensive consideration of optimal strategies to achieve indoor air quality in residential homes.