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IEQ Reserch Needs for Low Energy Residences
Potential impacts of low energy new homes and home retrofits were reviewed to identify research needs for indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in California’s building energy efficiency programs. California and several nations are planning to implement low energy or low carbon requirements for new and existing homes. These homes will be well-insulated, airtight, high-performance buildings, but they will have a narrower margin of safety for control of indoor pollutant sources, moisture, and ventilation. California has reduced some major sources of indoor air pollution over the last few decades but still has substantial rates of IEQ problems in homes. It also has a growing fraction of vulnerable persons, such as persons that have asthma, that live in overcrowded housing, or that are elderly. In the future, IEQ problems will be exacerbated by the impacts of climate change: increases in extreme weather, wild fires, outdoor air pollution, and airborne allergens. Building technology trends that will affect IEQ for better or worse include reduced infiltration and increased use of insulation, thermal mass, fault detection and diagnostics systems, integrated design, and commissioning.