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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Measured performance of filtration and ventilation systems for fine and ultrafine particles and ozone in an unoccupied modern California house.

  • Author(s): Singer, BC
  • Delp, WW
  • Black, DR
  • Walker, IS
  • et al.

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This study evaluated nine ventilation and filtration systems in an unoccupied 2006 house located 250 m downwind of the I-80 freeway in Sacramento, California. Systems were evaluated for reducing indoor concentrations of outdoor particles in summer and fall/winter, ozone in summer, and particles from stir-fry cooking. Air exchange rate was measured continuously. Energy use was estimated for year-round operation in California. Exhaust ventilation without enhanced filtration provided indoor PM2.5 that was 70% lower than outdoors. Supply ventilation with MERV13 filtration provided slightly less protection, whereas supply MERV16 filtration reduced PM2.5 by 97-98% relative to outdoors. Supply filtration systems used little energy but provided no benefits for indoor-generated particles. Systems with MERV13-16 filter in the recirculating heating and cooling unit (FAU) operating continuously or 20 min/h reduced PM2.5 by 93-98%. Across all systems, removal percentages were higher for ultrafine particles and lower for black carbon, relative to PM2.5 . Indoor ozone was 3-4% of outdoors for all systems except an electronic air cleaner that produced ozone. Filtration via the FAU or portable filtration units lowered PM2.5 by 25-75% when operated over the hour following cooking. The energy for year-round operation of FAU filtration with an efficient blower motor was estimated at 600 kWh/year.

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