ROCIS News & Events
January 2018
Can a Good Range Hood Can Improve Your Health?
Cooking Activities Compromise IAQ
The ROCIS Low Cost Monitoring Project experience has shown that cooking activities appear to be the largest indoor-generated source of airborne particles in Pittsburgh study homes. The more you cook, the more particles are created. And our monitoring only reveals part of the stew of cooking-related emissions.

However, there is a solution. A vented range hood, properly selected, installed, and operated can reduce exposure to emissions due to cooking.

Everybody who cooks with a stove or oven needs to use a range hood – especially if your household includes children, persons with asthma or other respiratory diseases, the elderly, or persons sensitive to odors. Range hoods should always be used during and briefly after cooking, especially when cooking at high temperatures or producing large quantities of steam, smoke, and/or odors. Anybody planning a new home, remodel, or replacement of any range hood should take advantage of the opportunity to install a better range hood system.
What's Wrong with this Photo?

But not any old range hood will do. The woman in this photo might be dismayed to learn that her ultra modern range hood isn't doing a proper job. You'll easily spot what's wrong with this picture once you've read up on the subject.

The ROCIS Issue Brief, "Ducted Range Hoods: Recommendations for New & Existing Homes" tells you what to look for in a range hood, how to install it, and when it should be operated. Both consumers and building professionals will find it useful. It summarizes easy ways to help reduce your household’s exposure to cooking pollution, such as cooking on the back burner, covering pots with lids, pre-cooking with a microwave, and cooking at lower temperatures. It also provides details and resources in supplemental sections.

January is National Radon Action Month
Radon Can Have a Big Effect on Indoor Air Quality
January marks National Radon Action Month. Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the soil and can enter your home through cracks and holes in the foundation. All homes regardless of structure and/or age can have radon problems.

Radon is responsible for claiming the lives of about 21,000 Americans each year and is considered the 2nd leading cause of U.S. lung cancer deaths. It is recommended that all Americans protect their health by testing their homes, workplaces, and schools for radon.

Mitigation steps can be taken if high radon levels are found in your home, workplace, or school.

An Action Plan to Reduce Radon-Induced Lung Cancer
1. Test your home for radon. U.S. EPA and U.S. Surgeon General recommend that all homes be tested. Remember to test radon levels in the basement since they are typically higher at the ground level.

2. The ROCIS Low-Cost Monitoring Project provides monitors to test radon for a month. We use AirThings radon monitors that calculate 1-day averages, long-term averages (up to one year), and 7-day averages. Two monitors are provided per site. Tracking levels over long periods is more accurate than short-term methods. Fill out this survey if you are interested in Low-Cost Monitoring.

3. Tell your family and friends about the health risk of radon by encouraging them to test radon in their homes. Visit the EPA’s website for a guide providing information on how to protect yourself, your family, and your friends from radon.

4. Share your experience of testing & mitigating radon with a social media post.

5. Purchase one or more continuous household-level monitor(s) such as the AirThings monitor to share with colleagues, friends, and neighbors.

6. Organize an event in your community to raise awareness.

For more ideas, inspiration, and information, visit
"Before participating in ROCIS, the idea of 'good' and 'bad' air were not very present in our minds. We just assumed that outdoor air was fresh air and fresh air was automatically good air. We also had no idea how airflow worked in our house. We knew something was wrong though, and that things could be better.

"By participating in monitoring activity, we were able to make consideration of air quality part of our daily routine. It became something that was always present in our mind. This helped us make better, healthier decisions. We were fortunate to have participated in the 'intervention' portion of the project too, which really taught us a lot about the HVAC system of our house, how it should help clean the air, and how it was failing to do so. The intervention itself made a tremendous improvement in the air quality of our home. The numbers speak for themselves. Thanks."

Ryan Coon, LCMP Participant
ROCIS Low Cost Monitoring Project (LCMP)
Do you want to learn more about how Pittsburgh’s outdoor air quality affects the indoor air quality of locations where you live, work, and play?

Are you a motivated individual that wants to learn more about how their behavior indoors affects their air quality?

Consider signing up for the Low-Cost Monitoring Project. Through this project, we provide monitoring kits loaned for a month-long cohort so folks measure particles, such as carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, radon, temperature, and humidity.
Upcoming LCMP Cohorts

Cohort 27
Kick-off Meeting : Thursday, Feb 8 /1-3 pm
Check-in Meeting : Week of Feb 12
Wrap-up Meeting : Thursday, Mar 8 /1-3 pm

Cohort 28
Kick-off Meeting : Friday, Mar 23
Check-in Meeting : Week of Mar 26
Wrap-up Meeting : Thursday, Apr 19

Cohort 29
Kick-off Meeting : Friday, Apr 27
Check-in Meeting : Week of Apr 30
Wrap-up Meeting : Thursday, May 24

Note that participation in the LCM Project is time intensive. Attendance to the Kick-off and Wrap-up meeting is required.

Rob Busher, ROCIS Air Quality Fellow & Kacy McGill, ROCIS Low Cost Monitoring Program Coordinator
Coming Events & Presentations by ROCIS
Zero Net Energy Carbon Retreat
January 25-26, 2018
Remote Sessions Online with Zoom
Sponsored by Redwood Energy & the Redwood Lilly
Our Presentation: Lingering Odors? Best Practice Guide for Range Hoods & Cooking Practices with Tom Phillips, Healthy Building Research / ROCIS

Radon Protections in New Homes
January 30, 2018 (1:00 - 2:00 pm)
Remote Session Online
Presented by EPA Indoor AirPlus
Join the Indoor airPLUS Team as they discuss ways to protect homeowners from radon in new homes. Learn from radon expert Bruce Knead on ways to avoid mistakes in design and installation of a passive radon system. 

2018 Forum on Dry Climate Home Performance
February 5-7, 2018
Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite, CA
Our Presentation: Reducing Indoor Particles with Filtration: Opportunities & Challenges with Tom Phillips Healthy Building Research / ROCIS & Linda Wigington, ROCIS

Bridge to 2030: Indoor Air And Environmental Quality
February 13, 2018 (3:00 - 6:00 pm)
Location TBA
Join experts from the Pittsburgh community to discuss air quality issues in buildings where we work, learn, and live. Learn how low-cost changes can affect your indoor air quality.

Static Pressure Testing & Furnace Commissioning
February 15, 2018 (8:30 am - 5:00 pm)
64 South 14th Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
Hosted by DEAWP, Presented by Rhett Major
BPI Credits available, Cost Varies
A one-day class designed for Energy Auditors, Building Inspectors, and HVAC technicians. The course will offer advanced level static pressure testing and air flow diagnostics with an emphasis on forced air furnaces (gas, propane, oil and even heat pumps).

Care About Your Air: How to Improve Indoor Air
February 8, 2018 (6:30 - 8:00 pm)
Frick Environmental Health Center
2005 Beechwood Boulevard, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Join experts from the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces (ROCIS), and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy for a discussion on ways to help indoor air quality in your home or workplace. Learn about our outdoor air quality, how it may enter into a home, and ways to mitigate the impact through use of citizen science!

2018 NY Regional Home Performance Conference & Trade Show
February 13-14, 2018 (All Day)
Saratoga Springs, NY
Hosted by Home Performance Coalition / Cost Varies

2018 HPC National Home Performance Conference
April 23-26, 2018,
Philadelphia, PA
Our Presentations: High Merv Filters in Central Air Handlers: Opportunities & Challenges with Linda Wigington, ROCIS & Rhett Major, The Energy Doctor / ROCIS
Can You Trust the Data from a $200 Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Monitor? with Brett Singer, LBNL & Linda Wigington, ROCIS

2018 Maine Indoor Air Quality & Energy Conference
May 1-2, 2018 (All Day)
Online from Portland, ME
Hosted by Maine Indoor Air Quality Council / Cost Varies
Thanks to The Heinz Endowments for support of the ROCIS initiative. 
(Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces)