Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces
News & Events
July 2018
Millvale Teens Get Hands-On IAQ Experience
Summer Collaboration is First ROCIS Teen-Focused Initiative
In July the ROCIS initiative launched its first teen-based Low Cost Monitoring Project cohort with support from the the Millvale Community Library , New Sun Rising , and The Heinz Endowments

Ten engaged teenagers in the Millvale area were loaned monitors to use in their homes in order to learn more about indoor and outdoor air quality.
How to Assemble a Fan/Filter
Better Indoor Air Quality is Less Expensive Than You Think
The fan/filter is a DIY and low cost strategy to remove particles in the air. Our team recommends the use of a MERV 13 20" x 20" 4" furnace filter for desired filtration and longevity. Through selected Low Cost Monitoring Project participants, we have seen promising results in reduction of indoor particles (0.5+ microns).

The fan/filter can be placed in a window to filter outdoor air as it comes into your home or used within a space. Fan/filters are particularly useful if homes rely on open windows during the summer months for comfort.
What You’ll Need

  • MERV 13 20" x 20" 4” furnace filter
  • 20" x 20" box fan
  • Foil-faced, duct, or cellophane tape or pipe cleaners
  • Pair of scissors/utility knife


  1. Find the arrow indicating air flow on the filter; make sure this matches the direction of the fan’s air flow.
  2. Place the filter on the box fan. We recommend placing the filter on the front of the box fan if placed in a window. The filter can be placed on the back of the box fan if used to recirculate the air within a room. 
  3. Secure the filter to the fan by using tape or pipe cleaners.
  4. Plug in the fan/filter and operate on low. Your DIY fan/filter is complete!
  5. Change the filters as needed. Filters typically last for 3-6 months, longer if used within a room, rather than to filter air coming in a window.

HOMEChem is Nation's Largest-Ever Indoor Air Quality Experiment
In June 2018, The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering hosted HOMEChem (House Observations of Microbial and Environmental Chemistry). This involved over 15 research groups from 13 universities. Simulations ranged from cleaning, to sleeping, to dozen-plate holiday dinners. For more, follow this link .

For first hand interviews covering this unique project, check out the recent IAQ Radio episode featuring the HOMEChem principal investigators.

Look here for a video overview of the lab and monitoring equipment.
Finally, an interview with environmental health scientist Arlene Blum , providing supplemental context for the types of compounds being studied in HOMEChem.

Stay tuned for updates and results from the HOMEChem experiments.
Smogathon 2018
Smogathon 2018 is looking for heroes. Those who fight air pollution with innovation and technology are invited to take part in Smogathon 2018 - a global competition for smog-fighting innovations. Please pass this on to anyone in our region who might be interested in applying for prizes!

For this year, the goal is to get the best air pollution-fighting projects from all over the world to compete for $15,000, $10,000, $5,000 in cash and special implementation prizes.
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 recruiting now for our August cohort wait-list and the cohort which will begin in mid-October.

August LCMP Cohort
Cohort 32
Thursday, August 16 - Tuesday, September 11

Upcoming October LCMP Cohort
Cohort 34
Dates TBD

Coming Regional & National Events
Indoor Air 2018
The 15th Conference of the International Society of Indoor Air Quality & Climate (ISIAQ)
July 22-27, 2018
Philadelphia, PA

Zero Net Energy Zero Carbon Retreat
Redwood Energy
July 26-27, 2018
Arcata, CA & Online

2018 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency
ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy)
August 12-17, 2018
Pacific Grove, CA

Better Buildings Summit 2018
U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE)
August 21-23, 2018
Cleveland, OH

Living Products Expo
International Living Future Institute
September 11-13, 2018
Pittsburgh, PA

Air Sensors International Conference
September 12-14, 2018
Oakland, CA; Sponsors: UC Davis, CARB, & U.S. EPA

Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) 2018 North American Passive House Conference
September 19-23, 2018
Boston, MA

Behavior, Energy Efficiency & Climate Change Conference
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
October 7-10, 2018 (Early-bird registration by July 27, 2018)
Washington, DC

Energy & Environmental Building Alliance (EEBA) High Performance Home Summit 2018
October 16-18, 2018 (Early-bird pricing through August 31, 2018)
San Diego, CA & Online

North American Passive House Network (NAPHN) 2018 International Conference
October 17-21, 2018
David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA
(ROCIS presentations)

IAQ Training Institute, LLC Healthy Buildings Summit (HBS) 2018
October 25-27, 2018 (Early-bird registration by August 23, 2018)
Seven Springs, PA
(ROCIS presentation)

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

Citizen Science Association CitSci 2019
Workshop & symposium proposals due August 17
Individual presentations (talks & posters) due September 15
March 13-17, 2019
Raleigh, NC

Home Performance Coalition (HPC) 2019 National Home Performance Conference & Trade Show
April 1-4, 2019 (Presentation proposals due Friday, August 10, 2018)
Chicago, IL
Check Out Recent ROCIS Presentations
Thanks to The Heinz Endowments for support of the ROCIS initiative. 
(Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces)