Energy efficiency is a gateway drug to building science. When you really start learning about it, you come to the inescapable conclusion that there’s so much more to making homes better than just saving energy. A house is a system, you know.
There’s moisture and comfort and indoor air quality and more. Today, let’s home in on the indoor air quality part, specifically as it relates to kitchens.
I keep an eye on the work of some of the researchers who investigate indoor air quality: Dr. Brett Singer, Professor Jeffrey Siegel, Professor Shelly Miller, and Professor Richard Corsi, to name a few. One thing I’ve heard loud and clear from them and from the mechanical ventilation crowd (Dr. Joe Lstiburek et al.) is that the first step to good indoor quality is source control.
That can mean just not bringing in materials that are going to have a negative effect on the indoor air quality, like avoiding furniture made with materials that offgas urea formaldehyde. It can also mean attacking the source of indoor contaminants. A kitchen range hood does that by removing the harmful stuff that gets into your air whenever you use your range or oven.
At Building Science Summer Camp this year, Dr. Singer gave an update on indoor air quality in the home. Naturally, what happens in kitchens was a significant part of it. Here’s his slide on the contaminants that come from the cooktop.
As you can see, your indoor air quality is diminished not only by cooking but also by the burners themselves. Burning gas is the worst but those electric resistance burners put a lot of ultrafine particles in the air. The best way to cook if you want to minimize your impact on IAQ is to use…