Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces
News & Events
November 2018
Talking Turkey About Indoor Air Quality
Outdoor Air, Indoor Air, and Your Holiday Cooking
Cooking in kitchens is a significant, consistent contributor to poor indoor air quality. While the best way to reduce indoor exposure to outdoor particles is to close windows and tighten a building, the conundrum is that doing so can concentrate pollutants that are generated inside. To reduce exposure, we need to address both outdoor and indoor contributors to poor air quality.

The majority of Pittsburgh homes represented in the ROCIS Low Cost Monitoring Project do not have vented kitchen range hoods. And, we found that guidance on selecting and installing range hoods was lacking; common installation practices lead to devices that capture less than 30% of the cooking pollution.

With the approach of winter, colder weather, and holiday season cooking, we are featuring both practical guidance as well as research results that address the reduction of exposure to cooking-related emissions.

To Get Started

1) Review the ROCIS website for the Range Hood best practice guidelines, tools, and resources (Phillips, 2018).

2) View Tom Phillips presentation, given at the October North American Passive House Network 2018 conference, Healthy Kitchen Ventilation: Best Practices In Low-E Homes. ” It has a wealth of information for all homes.

3) Join the Kitchen Ventilation Group on Home Energy Pros.

Hungry for More?

Get a second helping with more information on our blog here .
EPA Updates Publications on Home Filtration
ROCIS monitoring has shown that both portable air cleaners and upgrades to furnace filters have the potential to provide reliable and significant particle reductions in homes. Info on ROCIS Air Handler Inquiry here.

The EPA has updated its publications on residential filtration and they are worth consulting. The 7-page summary, Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home , describes the range of air cleaners that can be used for particles or chemical contaminants.

The full 74-page report, Residential Air Cleaners - A Technical Summary , gives more detail on filter performance and selection.
Hotter Classrooms Linked to Lower Test Scores
A recent report linking declining PSAT performance and heat covered in Chalkbeat is relevant to the ROCIS community for two reasons:

The report shows that hotter classroom conditions lead to lower PSAT scores. In a climate change scenario where hotter seasons are expected, one could envision that both academic performance and the ability of the public for rational thought could be affected.

In hotter weather, schools without air conditioning will most often use open windows to provide relief. The ROCIS experience has shown a strong correlation between open windows and higher indoor particle levels, particularly when ambient air quality is poor. In schools without AC, not only are the students less likely to do well academically but their health will also be more at risk.

Low Cost Monitoring Project (LCMP) Cohorts

Do you want to learn more about how Pittsburgh’s outdoor air quality affects the indoor air quality where you live and work?

Are you a motivated individual who wants to learn more about how your behavior affects your air quality?

Consider signing up for the Low Cost Monitoring Project.

Through this project, we provide monitoring kits loaned for a month-long cohort for folks to measure particles, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, radon, temperature, and humidity. We are now recruiting for our December cohort. Participation in the LCMP earns points as part of the Sustainable Pittsburgh Challenge .

Cohort 35 Kick-off Meeting
December 7, 2018

Cohort 35 Check-in Meeting
Week of December 10, 2018

Cohort 35 Wrap-up Meeting
January 4, 2018
Cohort News
Cohort 33 with the Pittsburgh Foodbank

In September the ROCIS team collaborated with the Pittsburgh Foodbank to co-host a cohort, the 33rd LCMP Cohort to date. Participants included thirteen Foodbank staff who monitored in their homes across Allegheny County. From the perspective of engagement and follow-through, it was our most successful cohort. Pittsburgh Foodbank staff monitored in their warehouse and workspace earlier this year, and the presence of air quality monitors generated interest among staff. They welcome the opportunity to engage additional staff going forward.
Cohort 34 with the Allegheny Conference

On October 30, the 34th LCMP cohort was launched in collaboration with the Allegheny Conference . Staff from the Allegheny Conference, Rothschild Doyno Collaborative, Net Health Pennsylvania and Pashek MTR are monitoring in both homes and workplaces in thirteen sites.
More Articles & Resources
Revisiting Donora
The 1948 Smog Disaster that Launched the Clear Air Movement

"Before Donora," declares Marcia Spink, associate director for air programs for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region III office in Philadelphia, "people thought of smog as a nuisance. It made your shirts dirty. The Donora tragedy was a wake-up call. People realized smog could kill."

Resources from Air Sensors International Conference
Oakland, CA, September 2018

Stakeholders from academia, government, communities, and commercial interests met to promote and advance air pollution sensors, improve the data quality from these sensors, expand the pollutants measured, and foster community involvement in monitoring air quality.

Recent Papers on Indoor PM Diagnostics, Modeling & Behavioral Interventions:

  • Diagnostic barriers to using PM2.5 concentrations as metrics of indoor air quality - HERE
  • Estimated distributions of PM2.5 concentrations in the kitchens of the English housing stock for infiltration and mechanical ventilation scenarios - HERE
  • An intervention study of PM2.5 concentrations measured in domestic kitchens - HERE
Coming Regional & National Events
Sustainability Salon on Air Quality
November 10, 2018, 3:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Maren's House in Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh, PA
(ROCIS presentation)

2018 Midwest Regional Healthy Housing Conference
November 13-14, 2018
Indianapolis, IN

2018 Shale & Public Health Conference
November 14, 2018 / 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM
The University Club at the University of Pittsburgh

Black Environmental Collective
UrbanKind Institute
November 16, 2018 / 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Arnold’s Tea - 502 E. Ohio St, Pittsburgh, PA

How School Buildings Influence Student Health, Thinking and Performance
United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) &
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Online webinar

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) 2018 Conference on Health, Environment and Energy
December 3-5, 2018
New Orleans, LA
(ROCIS presentation)

Engaging Health Professionals in Environmental Public Health
Partnerships for Environmental Public Health
December 7, 2018
Online webinar

Citizen Science Association CitSci 2019
March 13-17, 2019
Raleigh, NC

Home Performance Coalition (HPC) 2019 National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show
April 1-4, 2019
Chicago, IL
Check Out Recent ROCIS Presentations
Thanks to The Heinz Endowments for support of the ROCIS initiative. 
(Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces)