Groundbreaking investigation partners Advanced Energy with medical researchers to study health impacts of home construction practices
November 11, 2002
Raleigh, N.C. -- Advanced Energy, a Raleigh, North Carolina non-profit organization, has been awarded a $700,000 grant from HUD to study the relationships between specific healthrelated indoor environmental factors and the way houses are commonly built.
“This is a groundbreaking investigation as this is the first time building scientists and medical scientists have partnered in such a research project. We have long wanted to join forces with the medical profession to study these issues,” stated John Morrison, vice president of operations of Advanced Energy.
Asthma, allergy and other respiratory health issues are growing rapidly in our country, and increasingly, it appears that indoor air quality could be a significant cause. In turn, there appears to be a link between today's more energy-efficient homes and poor indoor air quality. Studies are now being launched by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to investigate these linkages and other health issues, first focusing on low-income housing.
Advanced Energy and its collaborators (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, UNC School of Medicine, and Habitat for Humanity) will investigate the impact of three approaches to residential construction on indoor environmental quality. The studies will investigate both physical measures (e.g., humidity) and levels of common household allergens (e.g., dust mite, cockroach) that can be significant triggers for asthma and allergies. The researchers will study the effects of relatively low cost modifications in basic housing design and actual construction practices (e.g., mechanical ventilation, improved moisture control) on these environmental measures, seeking to determine which factors have the largest and most cost-effective impact on indoor environmental quality and ultimately, occupant health.
“We will study the impacts of standard and improved residential construction techniques and details on specific health-related indoor environmental factors so that we can identify the connections between people's houses, people's health, and energy efficiency,” said Bruce Davis of Advanced Energy, who is the Research Director of the project. Dr. David Peden of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine will coordinate the pilot health assessment component of the program.
All the homes in the study will be built under the Star Home Program of the NC Community Development Initiative, through which Advanced Energy guarantees both comfort and low heating and cooling bills.
Advanced Energy's research team believes that by improving the way new homes are built, we can begin to reverse the trend toward poor indoor air quality. If the assumed link is indeed demonstrated, it will be the first step toward transforming the way all homes are built in this country.
Advanced Energy is an independent nonprofit organization providing testing, training, and consulting to create economic and environmental benefits through innovative approaches to energy.
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