Healthy Air and Energy Efficiency in Low-Income Housing
Wildfires are becoming increasingly common in Colorado, due in part to climate change. So CU Boulder scientists are using a $1 million grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study their effects on indoor air quality, looking specifically at low-income Denver area neighborhoods.
Led by Shelly Miller, a professor in CU Boulder’s environmental engineering program, a team of faculty and students are evaluating the effects of weatherization—making homes more energy efficient—on indoor air quality. They’re measuring levels of pollutants like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, which can pose a threat to human health.
Weatherized or “tight” homes improve energy efficiency and may keep out pollutants, but they need adequate ventilation systems to prevent these pollutants from accumulating indoors. “One of our goals is to determine the best way to tighten homes to save energy,” says Miller. “But it needs to be done in a way that keeps the indoor air environment healthy.”