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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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 consumption of zero over a typical year. The California Public Utility Commission and the... Read More
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
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.
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).
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