Indoor Environmental Quality

Our indoor environmental quality research is improving the health, comfort, and energy efficiency of the indoor environment.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Our researchers conduct a broad program of research and development with the goals of improving the health, comfort, and energy efficiency of the indoor environment.

Research on airflow and pollutant transport integrates experimental and modeling research to understand the dispersion of airborne pollutants in buildings. Our work in this area applies to reducing health risks and improving energy efficiency and occupant comfort (ses.lbl.gov/indoor-airflow-pollutant-transport).

Our atmospheric aerosol research seeks to understand air quality and climate impacts of particles in the atmosphere. Research looks at the impact of black carbon; indoor air quality and climate impacts of improved cookstove technology in developing regions; the effect of aerosol mixing state; the evaluation of black carbon and aerosol light-absorption measurement techniques; trends in pollutant emissions from gasoline and diesel-powered motor vehicles; and historical trends in black carbon concentrations in the atmosphere.

Our commercial buildings research looks at energy-efficient ventilation, pollutant transport, particle control, and health and productivity for human beings in commercial buildings—to identify the effects of ventilation on building occupants and pollutant concentration. The research methods include controlled laboratory studies, extensive multidisciplinary field studies, modeling, and data reviews and syntheses (indoor.lbl.gov/commercial-buildings).

Residential buildings research addresses problems and opportunities associated with whole-building integration involving modeling, measurement, design, and operation. Areas of research include the movement of air and associated penalties involving distribution of pollutants, energy, and fresh air (homes.lbl.gov/).

Our indoor air quality research studies environmental risk factors for the effects on human beings and performance. The Indoor Health and Productivity Project is developing a more complete understanding of the relationship between physical attributes of the workplace (such as its thermal attributes, lighting, ventilation, and air quality) in non-residential and non-industrial buildings, as well as the health and productivity of their occupants (iaqscience.lbl.gov/).

Our researchers also look at pollutant exposure and health risk, focusing on current and emerging technologies that can be sued to anticipate and monitor exposures of human and ecological receptors to harmful agents. This research concentrates on the development and use of multimedia exposure measurements and models in health-risk assessments, chemical transport and transformation in the environment, and the health and environmental impacts of energy, industrial, and agricultural systems (ses.lbl.gov/research-areas/human-and-ecological-health).

In the area of source emissions and transport, our researchers characterize and analyze the sources of indoor, airborne pollutants. We have characterized multiple sources (such as carpet, furnishings and building materials) that contribute to indoor pollutant levels of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds, as well as the various methods implemented to control those levels. This research also characterizes pollutants from cooking, smoking, and the use of air fresheners and cleaners, and their reaction with indoor ozone, leading to the formation of ultrafine particles and volatile aldehydes.

Our urban and regional air quality research studies nitrogen oxides and volatile organic compounds—controlling them to manage tropospheric ozone pollution. These researchers also study 
hazardous air pollutants, using science to base standards on rigorously studied risks; and air quality and climate (how climate influences air quality at a regional or local level (www.arm.gov/).