News

News

May 1st 2018
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory was recently honored with a prestigious Green Leadership Award at the 12th Annual Green California Summit in Sacramento. The Lab's Energy Technologies Area (ETA)  was highlighted for innovative breakthroughs in the energy efficiency category for research aimed at helping California meet its zero net energy (ZNE) building goals, while ensuring adequate indoor air quality and ventilation. A ZNE, or net zero building, is a building with zero net energy... Read More
photo of a man smoking an e-cigarette
April 4th 2018
Whether it’s e-cigarettes or emerging heated tobacco products, the market for electronic nicotine delivery systems is booming. Most scientists agree that vaping is less harmful than smoking tobacco, but how much is known about the “clouds” they create? ETA’s Hugo Destaillats discusses the chemical composition of these complex aerosols in a recent... Read More
March 9th 2018
Most Americans don’t realize cooking can be a major source of indoor air pollutants, unless they’ve recently burned something on the stove. But studies have shown that cooking-related contaminants can cause health problems such as respiratory illness and asthma attacks. To learn more, I spoke with Brett Singer, PhD, a scientist at Berkeley Lab who investigates indoor air quality. Recently, he measured the levels of pollutants emitted from gas... Read More
February 26th 2018
Ashok Gadgil redesigned a simple technology, the wood-burning stove, to help Sudanese refugee women cook more efficiently, thus sparing them from the dangers of gathering firewood far from camp. In the developing world, sometimes the simplest technology can have the largest payoff. That's the lesson learned by Ashok Gadgil, a UC Berkeley professor of civil and environmental engineering and Berkeley Lab researcher who was asked in 2005 to help... Read More
August 23rd 2017
Ashok Gadgil, Senior Faculty Scientist at Berkeley Lab, has been recognized as a Social Design Circle honoree for 2017 by the Curry Stone Design Prize. The prize awards innovative projects that use design to address pressing social justice issues. Gadgil's research focuses on designing low­-cost solutions to the developing world’s most intractable problems. He and his lab teams, composed of scientists and students, work to find resilient,... Read More
Dimitrios Panagopoulos
July 6th 2017
Panagopoulos received a $35,000 scholarship from the Sweden-America Foundation to support his work at the Lab and in collaborations with Swedish scientists. The research focuses on human exposure to chemicals from artificial turf in sports arenas. The Foundation supports the exchange of science between Sweden, the U.S. and Canada. 
June 2nd 2017
Two projects on residential buildings will help state meet targets for low-energy buildings. California has established ambitious goals to reduce energy consumption in buildings, including a policy goal for all new residential buildings to be zero net energy (ZNE) by 2020. Now the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has launched two projects to help the state meet its ZNE building goals. One project will... Read More
February 3rd 2017
The sticky residue left behind by tobacco smoke can do worse damage than stinking up furniture and discoloring walls. Exposure to thirdhand smoke leads to biological effects on weight and cell development that could be damaging to one's health, according to new research led by scientists at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The researchers found that newborn mice housed with smoke-treated cloths for... Read More
January 17th 2017
Emissions of methane—a potent climate-warming gas⎯may be roughly twice as high as officially estimated for the San Francisco Bay Area. Most of the emissions come from biological sources, such as landfills, but natural gas leakage is also an important source, according to a new study from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). The report by EAEI researchers Seongeun Jeong and Marc Fischer is the first to... Read More
A technician prepares the Aeroseal equipment.
December 13th 2016
Many residential and commercial buildings leak air like sieves, wasting up to 40% of their heating and cooling energy. The primary reason for this energy loss is gaps and holes that exist in buildings’ air ducts. Getting an airtight seal on every connection can be difficult; even with skillful installation and generous applications of mastic (the putty... Read More
November 8th 2016
EAEI researchers Hugo Destaillats and Tom Kirchstetter are part of a team that won a 2016 R&D100 Award for their work on the Cool Roof Time Machine project. This research establishes a method to simulate soiling and weathering of roofing material, reproducing in the lab in only a few days what would naturally take three years. This “cool roof... Read More
(From left) Lara Gundel, Marion Russell, Hugo Destaillats
July 28th 2016
Berkeley Lab study identifies two additional carcinogens not previously reported in e-cigarette vapor. While previous studies have found that electronic cigarettes emit toxic compounds, a new study from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has pinpointed the source of these emissions and shown how factors such as the temperature, type, and age of the device play a role in emission levels, information that could be valuable to... Read More
Some sources of indoor particulate matter.
July 12th 2016
The Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine have just released a report on the health... Read More
June 24th 2016
In the mid-2000s, William Fisk, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, stumbled upon two obscure Hungarian studies that challenged common assumptions about the air indoors. The studies suggested that, even at relatively low levels, carbon dioxide could impair how well people thought and worked. Fisk, an indoor–air quality expert who led the UC Berkeley Lab’s Indoor Environment Group, searched for other studies on the topic... Read More
Lara Gundel, Bo Hang, and Hugo Destaillats
September 28th 2015
Berkeley Lab scientists have been awarded $1.3 million to study health impacts of thirdhand smoke. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) researchers have been awarded $1.3 million for two sets of studies to better understand the health impacts of thirdhand smoke, the noxious residue that clings to virtually all indoor surfaces long after the secondhand smoke from a cigarette has cleared out. The two three-year grants are from the... Read More
Sharon Chen sprays roofing material with soiling mixture.
April 14th 2015
Standards body approves Berkeley Lab’s method to mimic natural soiling of roofing materials. Cool roofs can help keep buildings cool, thus lowering the building’s energy use, while also mitigating the urban heat island effect by reflecting sunlight away from buildings and cities. But as cool roofs age and get soiled, how much of their reflectance do they lose? A collaboration led by scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley... Read More
March 30th 2015
Energy Technologies Area researcher Vi Rapp spoke at Build It Green’s 2014 Healthy Homes Conference in Berkeley, California on reducing carbon monoxide exposure risks. Tom White, Home Energy publisher, spoke with her to clear up misconceptions about combustion safety. See the link below to read the full story in Home Energy.
Portrait of Vi Rapp
February 19th 2015
Career Spotlight: Research Scientist and Mechanical Engineer Vi Rapp is a research scientist with Berkeley Lab’s Energy Technologies Area. She has a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and focuses her research on improving combustion systems. One aspect of her work is designing cleaner, more efficient cookstoves. Click the link below to see the full story on KQED's Quest program.
A house flooded up to the bottom of its windows.
April 14th 2014
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Working Group III, addressing the mitigation of climate change, has issued an executive summary of its Fifth Assessment report. The report updates policymakers on the technical and socio-economic aspects of climate change, including technologies and policies that can reduce impacts. According to its website, "The IPCC Working Group III assesses all relevant options for mitigating climate change... Read More
William Fisk
January 6th 2014
Quantifying the Economic Implications of Indoor Air on Energy Efficiency, Performance, and Health William Fisk is a senior scientist, mechanical engineer, and leader of the Indoor Environment Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). During his 33 years at the lab, he has researched the interrelated issues of building energy performance, ventilation, indoor environmental quality (IEQ), and occupant health and performance. His... Read More
December 12th 2013
Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and their colleagues studied the chemical mechanisms that allow photocatalysis to remove pollution from indoor air and urban atmospheres, as well as allow self-cleaning surfaces to work. The basis of the process is a catalyst such as titanium dioxide (TiO2) energized by light. Building materials and coatings with nano-sized TiO2 particles are gaining... Read More
SEM images of synthesized catalyst LBNL-100 and of commercial MnO2
November 29th 2011
Researchers estimate that those of us in developed countries spend 90 percent of our time indoors, which means that most of the time we are breathing air polluted by emissions from indoor sources. Providing more outdoor air ventilation can improve indoor air quality; however, energy is needed to heat, cool, humidify or dehumidify, and sometimes filter the ventilation air brought indoors from outdoors. Studies have shown that about 10 percent of... Read More
Screen shot of the Healthy Homes Study web site
November 10th 2011
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is seeking participants for a study of air quality in California homes. The study is being conducted by scientists in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Berkeley Lab. This project is funded by the California Energy Commission and is focused on homes with natural gas appliances. Individuals who are selected to participate and complete the requirements of the study will receive $75 and free... Read More
Photo of skyscrapers, persepctive from the ground looking up
October 19th 2011
Current standards for U.S. offices require approximately 8 liters per second (L/s) of outdoor air ventilation per person. Providing twice as much ventilation would reduce sick building syndrome symptoms (SBS) and absences, improve work performance, and provide billions of dollars in annual economic benefits in the U.S., according to a recent study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). A second study found that four... Read More
Screen shot of the Indoor Air journal cover
June 6th 2011
A paper by William Fisk, Anna Mirer, and Mark Mendell has received a "best paper" award from the editors of the journal Indoor Air. According to the citation, "Quantitative relationship of sick building syndrome symptoms with ventilation rates," was "one of the top papers published in the journal during the years 2008-2010." The authors were honored at one of the plenary sessions of the Indoor Air 2011 conference, which takes place this... Read More
Screen shot of the Healthy Zero Energy Buildings web site
February 16th 2011
The Healthy Zero Energy Buildings (HZEB) website has made its debut. The HZEB research program's goal is to develop the information needed for scientifically-sound commercial building ventilation standards that balance energy efficiency objectives with the need to maintain acceptable indoor air quality. Zero (net) energy buildings have a net energy... Read More
Screen shot of the Apartment Retrofits for IEQ website
December 21st 2010
Buildings are responsible for a large fraction of total U.S. energy demand and buildings are replaced slowly. About one third of the U.S. population lives in multifamily buildings. The residents of multifamily buildings often have below-average incomes and they are sometimes exposed to high levels of potentially harmful indoor contaminants. The U.S. is embarking on a program of aggressive energy retrofits in homes, with a substantial focus on... Read More
Photo of the team researchers of responsible for the study
August 23rd 2010
Another reason for including asthma on the list of potential health risks posed by secondhand tobacco smoke, especially for non-smokers, has been uncovered. Furthermore, the practice of using ozone to remove the smell of tobacco smoke from indoor environments, including hotel rooms and the interiors of vehicles, is probably a bad idea.
Photo of a smoking machine,  one of the machines used in laboratory tests
February 23rd 2010
Nicotine in third-hand smoke, the residue from tobacco smoke that clings to virtually all surfaces long after a cigarette has been extinguished, reacts with the common indoor air pollutant nitrous acid to produce dangerous carcinogens. This new potential health hazard was revealed in a multi-institutional study led by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab).
Photo of a commercial building
February 23rd 2009
Research conducted at the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that operating buildings more energy efficiently could have benefits for the health of occupants and, surprisingly, also for their comfort. The researchers, Mark Mendell and Anna Mirer of Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division, analyzed data collected from 95 air-conditioned office buildings across the U.S. The data had been... Read More