ROCIS News & Events
April 2018
Inversion: The Unfinished Business of Pittsburgh's Air
by ROCIS contributor, Mark Dixon
"Weather inversions don't inherently stink. It's the pollution trapped by inversions that stinks."
-- Mark Dixon
Smoke has been a fixture in the coal-rich inversion-prone Pittsburgh region for centuries. Only in the 1900’s did community members finally come together to begin to move their economy away from its polluting past. Today, it seems that we may be poised to for a new and dramatic reduction of our pollution problem as citizen science tools and techniques offer innovative ways to see how pollution reaches us, what entities are causing that pollution, and how to efficiently remove that pollution from our air.

Weather inversions play a significant role in the air quality of SW Pennsylvania. They form when cold, dense air settles into our local river valleys, trapped by a layer, or “lid,” of warmer air above. While trapped air is not inherently polluted, it does gradually accumulate the pollutants emitted by regional sources, increasing the exposure of area residents to those pollutants. If those pollutants smell, and they often do in Allegheny County, then the inversion condition intensifies the smell experienced by area residents.

Smell Pittsburgh App
Don't tolerate the stink. Report it.
Do you smell a bad odor outside? Report it using the Smell Pittsburgh app! 

The Smell PGH app crowdsources smell reports to track pollutants that produce an odor in the air across Pittsburgh. Unusual and foul odors may indicate serious pollutants in the air. You might be inhaling toxins if you smell a noticeable odor. The information submitted through the app gets reported to the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) so they can use this data to ensure better monitoring for the air and identify potential pollutant sources. 

The Smell PGH app can be downloaded on your smartphone or tablet. Smell PGH was developed by the CMU Create Lab with support from The Heinz Endowments.

And Speaking of Smell...
Allegheny County Flunks on Air Quality
The American Lung Association (ALA) just released the first 2018 State of The Air report. Per usual, Pittsburgh is ranked amongst the top 10 worst airsheds in the nation. Allegheny County received a multi-category F for particle pollution.

Earth Day Events
Stop By & Meet Our Team!
Come meet members of the ROCIS Low-Cost Monitoring Project team at these upcoming Earth Day events. We will bring our monitors to introduce folks to low-cost monitoring initiatives and DIY strategies to help your indoor air quality. Plus we will have engaging and family-friendly activities!

Pittsburgh Parks Earth Day 2018
Frick Environmental Center
2005 Beechwood Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA

Saturday, April 21
11:30 AM - 4 PM

Earth Day 2018 in Mt. Lebanon
Mt. Lebanon Park
900 Cedar Boulevard
Mt. Lebanon, PA 15228

Sunday, April 22
11 AM - 3 PM

Allegheny County Earth Day 2018
Allegheny Courthouse Gallery
436 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Monday, April 23
11 AM - 1 PM
ROCIS Low Cost Monitoring Project (LCMP)
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 their behavior 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, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, radon, temperature, and humidity.
Upcoming LCMP Cohorts
More Cohorts Announced in the Fall

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.

Left to Right: Rob Busher, ROCIS Air Quality Fellow & Kacy McGill, ROCIS Low Cost Monitoring Program Coordinator

Coming Events & Presentations by ROCIS
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, & Iain Walker, LBNL
What Can You Do With a Consumer IAQ Monitor? with Brett Singer, LBNL & Linda Wigington, ROCIS
Coming Regional & National Events
Incorporating Pollution Reductions from Energy Efficiency in State Implementation Plans
ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy) report review
April 20, 2018, 1 PM
Remote Session Online

HPC (Home Performance Coalition) Home Performance Ideas Worth Spreading Webinar
April 25, 2018, 6:30 - 8 PM
Remote Session Online

Six Easy Pieces: EPA Guidance for Moisture Control in Buildings
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Indoor Environments Division Webinar
April 30, 2018, 1- 2:30 PM
Remote Session Online

Emerging Sensor Technologies 2014-2018 Progress Report Webinar
EPA Air & Energy National Research Program
April 30, 2018
Two sessions: 8:30 - 11:30 AM & 1:30 - 4:30 PM

2018 Maine Indoor Air Quality & Energy Conference
May 1-2, 2018
In person or online from Portland, ME
Hosted by Maine Indoor Air Quality Council / Cost Varies

Exploring Pathways to Reimbursement for In-Home Asthma Interventions
Asthma Community Network
May 3, 2018, 1 - 2:30 PM
Remote Session Online

American Lung Association LungForce Expo
June 7, 2018, 7:30 AM - 3:30 PM
Cranberry, PA

Air Sensors 2018: Deliberating Performance Target Workshop
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Office of Research and Development
June 25-26, 2018
In person or online from Durham, NC

2018 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency
ACEEE (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy)-hosted conference & award ceremony
August 12-17, 2018; Award nominations due by June 1, 2018
Pacific Grove, CA

Air Sensors International Conference
September 12-14, 2018; Call for Abstracts due April 23, 2018
Oakland, CA; Sponsors: UC Davis, CARB, & EPA

North American Passive House Network (NAPHN) 2018 International Conference
October 17-21, 2018; Call for Speakers due April 25, 2018
David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Pittsburgh, PA

ACEEE (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy)
2018 Conference on Health, Environment and Energy
December 3-5, 2018; Call for Abstracts due April 5, 2018
New Orleans, LA
Thanks to The Heinz Endowments for support of the ROCIS initiative. 
(Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces)