Illinois Tech and Elevate Energy Examine the Effects of Climate Change on Indoor Air Quality


The war on climate change is heading indoors. Illinois Institute of Technology and Elevate Energy, a nonprofit organization that designs and implements energy efficient programs, are teaming up to study the impact of climate change and weatherization on indoor air quality and chronic health issues in U.S. homes.

“We want to determine how outdoor pollution can get indoors and affect the air you’re breathing everyday,” said Brent Stephens, assistant professor of architectural engineering at Illinois Tech. “We hope the results of this study will not only improve the public’s ability to protect the environment and human health, but also improve energy efficiency and indoor air quality of buildings.”

Illinois Tech and Elevate Energy are recruiting 30 homes from Chicago and the suburbs to participate in the study to assess the air quality of a dwelling before and after weatherization retrofits are applied. A set of nationally representative indoor air quality models will be used to predict long-term concentrations and health risks. The field measurements will be conducted by the Built Environment Research Group at Illinois Tech and include ventilation rates, infiltration factors, indoor deposition rates, and envelope penetration factors for a number of priority pollutants.

“Homeowners who participate in this study will not only provide Illinois Tech with important data for their research, but also defray upfront costs for efficiency upgrades that improve comfort in the home and lower utility bills,” said Emily Robinson, Elevate Energy communications and outreach director. “If you’re dreading another winter in your drafty home, now is the time to schedule an assessment. We manage the entire process – connecting homeowners with trustworthy contractors and ensuring they receive the most cost-effective efficiency improvements.”

Interested participants must own a single or multi-family home and have already completed, or interested in completing, an energy efficiency retrofit. Once the measurements have been taken and the home has been retrofitted, homeowners will receive a $400 stipend for their participation. Contact or call Elevate Energy at 773.269.4037 for more information.