Ozone Reductions Using Residential Building Envelopes

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Ozone is an air pollutant with that can have significant health effects and a significant source of ozone in some regions of California is outdoor air. Because people spend the vast majority of their time indoors, reduction in indoor levels of ozone could lead to improved health for many California residents. Ozone is removed from indoor air by surface reactions and can also be filtered by building envelopes. The magnitude of the envelope impact depends on the specific building materials that the air flows over and the geometry of the air flow paths through the envelope that can be changed by mechanical ventilation operation. The 2008 Residential Building Standards in California include minimum requirements for mechanical ventilation by referencing ASHRAE Standard 62.2. This study examines the changes in indoor ozone depending on the mechanical ventilation system selected to meet these requirements. This study used detailed simulations of ventilation in a house to examine the impacts of different ventilation systems on indoor ozone concentrations. The simulation results showed that staying indoors reduces exposure to ozone by 80% to 90%, that exhaust ventilation systems lead to lower indoor ozone concentrations, that opening of windows should be avoided at times of high outdoor ozone, and that changing the time at which mechanical ventilation occurs has the ability to halve exposure to ozone. Future work should focus on the products of ozone reactions in the building envelope and the fate of these products with respect to indoor exposures.

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