Indoor environmental quality benefits of apartment energy retrofits
Sixteen apartments serving low-income populations in three buildings were retroﬁt with the goal of simultaneously reducing energy consumption and improving indoor environmental quality (IEQ). Retroﬁt measures varied among apartments and included, among others, envelope sealing, installation of continuous mechanical ventilation systems, upgrading bathroom fans and range hoods, attic insulation, replacement of heating and cooling systems, and adding wall-mounted particle air cleaners. IEQ parameters were measured, generally for two one-week periods before and after the retrofits. The measurements indicate an overall improvement in IEQ conditions after the retrofits. Comfort conditions, bathroom humidity, and concentrations of carbon dioxide, acetaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, and particles generally improved. Formaldehyde and nitrogen dioxide levels decreased in the building with the highest concentrations, were unchanged in a second building, and increased in a third building. IEQ parameters other than particles improved more in apartments with continuous mechanical ventilation systems installed. In general, but not consistently, larger percent increases in air exchange rates were associated with larger percent decreases in indoor levels of the pollutants that primarily come from indoor sources.