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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(3), 327; doi:10.3390/ijerph13030327

Modeling Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Infiltration in Low-Income Multifamily Housing before and after Building Energy Retrofits

1
Department of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health. 715 Albany Street, Boston, MA 02118, USA
2
Department of Environmental Health, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. 401 Park Drive, Boston, MA 02115, USA
3
Urban Habitat Initiatives Inc., 328A Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 14 December 2015 / Revised: 3 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Indoor Environmental Quality: Exposures and Occupant Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [2813 KB, uploaded 16 March 2016]   |  

Abstract

Secondhand exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in multifamily housing remains a health concern despite strong recommendations to implement non-smoking policies. Multiple studies have documented exposure to ETS in non-smoking units located in buildings with smoking units. However, characterizing the magnitude of ETS infiltration or measuring the impact of building interventions or resident behavior on ETS is challenging due to the complexities of multifamily buildings, which include variable resident behaviors and complex airflows between numerous shared compartments (e.g., adjacent apartments, common hallways, elevators, heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, stack effect). In this study, building simulation models were used to characterize changes in ETS infiltration in a low income, multifamily apartment building in Boston which underwent extensive building renovations targeting energy savings. Results suggest that exterior wall air sealing can lead to increases in ETS infiltration across apartments, while compartmentalization can reduce infiltration. The magnitude and direction of ETS infiltration depends on apartment characteristics, including construction (i.e., level and number of exterior walls), resident behavior (e.g., window opening, operation of localized exhaust fans), and seasonality. Although overall ETS concentrations and infiltration were reduced post energy-related building retrofits, these trends were not generalizable to all building units. Whole building smoke-free policies are the best approach to eliminate exposure to ETS in multifamily housing. View Full-Text
Keywords: smoking; environmental tobacco smoke; building simulation; indoor air quality; building retrofits; energy savings smoking; environmental tobacco smoke; building simulation; indoor air quality; building retrofits; energy savings
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fabian, M.P.; Lee, S.K.; Underhill, L.J.; Vermeer, K.; Adamkiewicz, G.; Levy, J.I. Modeling Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Infiltration in Low-Income Multifamily Housing before and after Building Energy Retrofits. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 327.

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