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A Rate It Green Content Guide to: Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

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Posted by: Rate It Green Team

Indoor air quality, or IAQ, awareness has been growing in recent years due in some part to the COVID pandemic and increasing outdoor air pollution concerns such as wildfire exhaust/pollution, which enters buildings and irritates and causes health problems for occupants.  Though IAQ is newer to many as a topic, building scientists and public health experts have long known that indoor air can be more toxic than outdoor air (reported decades ago by the EPA as 2 to 5 times more - or more - than typical outdoor air).  This unhealthy air means a greater risk for respiratory problems, including asthma and lung cancer, in addition to other irritations and serious medical conditions.

One reason for greater indoor pollution risk is that we’ve been building homes “tighter” or less leaky in our efforts to increase energy efficiency.  This evolution makes perfect sense for energy and emissions, savings, and comfort.  But it’s important that we properly dilute and exhaust pollutants so that they do not stagnate or build to unacceptable levels.

Many factors determine indoor air quality. Indoor air quality of course relates to outdoor air quality, as occupants bring outside air in through mechanical ventilation or through means as simple as opening a door or window. Air also seeps into buildings through cracks in foundations and walls.  With mechanical ventilation, good air quality depends on proper filtration, temperature, and humidity management. Keep in mind that indoor air is also greatly affected by our activities inside a building as well as the chemicals and products we bring into buildings, including cleaning products and even furniture. 

Indoor air is critically important to human health, as we spend up to 90% of our time indoors.  We need to increase education as to how air enters and flows through buildings, and how both building professionals and occupants can impact air quality.    

Would you like to know more about how air enters our homes, key indoor pollutants, the mechanical ventilation systems that can help us filter and condition air to healthy levels, and how we can begin to address indoor air quality and monitor key indoor air pollutants (an evolving industry)? Read on to see the IAQ information we've curated and created to date, and add your voice!  What topics can you teach others, what are your questions, and what information are you still searching for?   

Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Introductions:


Indoor Air Quality and Fossil Fuels:





Sensors, and Smart and Reactive HVAC Equipment and Controls:

Air and Vapor Barriers, and Radon:


Garage Safety:

The #1920sMakeoverATL Deep Energy Retrofit and Indoor Air Quality:

We will also be sharing a great deal of IAQ-related content as a part of our collaboration with the #1920sMakeoverATL project.  Originally planned as a deep energy home retrofit, this project has gone all-electric and will now also be a Passive House! Check out the Pre-Construction Virtual Reality Tour, and stay tuned for a project tour and the final big reveal as well.  Each tour contains links to relevant videos, articles, discussions, and more.  Indoor air quality content includes: 


We've highlighted here several videos, articles and discussions related to understanding and improving indoor air quality, but we’d also like to hear from you, our community members and friends. Do you have great ideas for how homeowners and occupants can improve indoor air quality, including ideas on how we can address this topic more equitably?  Do you have expert ideas to share on this topic, or questions you need answers to?

So many green building concepts are related, as is the case for indoor air quality and electrification.  Be sure to visit our Electrification and Decarbonization Content Guide to learn more abourt why and how we need to transition away from indoor fossil fuel combustion. 

Let’s start some more indoor air quality discussionsAdd your voice to the conversation! 



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