Simulations of short-term exposure to NO2 and PM2.5 to inform capture efficiency standards

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The California building code requires all new or renovated residential dwelling units to have kitchen exhaust ventilation to manage air pollutants and moisture generated during cooking. Current performance requirements are specified as a minimum airflow and maximum sound level. This report presents an analysis to support consideration of adding a capture efficiency requirement to the code. The analysis uses a physics-based simulation model to calculate air pollutant concentrations in homes that result from cooking and the inflow of outdoor air, mediated by loss and removal process including deposition, dwelling unit ventilation, and the use of a range hood with varying levels of capture efficiency. Calculated pollutant concentrations are compared to relevant, health-based guidelines. The analysis considers the highest 1-hour concentration of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which is a product of natural gas combustion and the highest 24-hour concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) which is emitted in substantial quantities from frying, broiling and grilling among other cooking activities. For NO2, the analysis considers cooking of a dinner for 3-4 persons consisting of pasta, meat sauce, a par-boiled vegetable, and baked garlic bread. For PM2.5, the analysis considers a day in which breakfast emitted particles at the 80th percentile and lunch and dinner entailed particle emissions at the 50th percentile of cooking emission events reported in the literature. Model simulations were performed to determine the level of range hood capture efficiency that will allow these cooking scenarios to occur in the vast majority (>99%) of new homes being built in California while maintaining pollutant concentrations below the health-based guidelines, if the range hood is used throughout cooking. All homes were assumed to have dwelling unit ventilation at the rate required in the building code. Simulation model input parameters were specified using a Monte Carlo approach to represent a range of housing characteristics, outdoor conditions, and indoor pollutant dynamics. Simulation results suggest that requiring a minimum capture efficiency of at least 70% is needed to avoid unacceptably high NO2 (1-h average concentration of 100 ppb or higher) and at least 60% to avoid unacceptably high PM2.5 (24-h average of 25 ug/m3 or higher). These results were driven by multi-family homes, which have a smaller volume of air to dilute any pollutants not captured and removed at the cooking area, resulting in higher concentrations.

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