Toward healthy, energy-efficient homes.
Architecture and energy conservation
(Design and construction)
Architecture and energy conservation (Environmental aspects)
|Publication:||Name: Human Ecology Publisher: Cornell University, Human Ecology Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Science and technology; Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2006 Cornell University, Human Ecology ISSN: 1530-7069|
|Issue:||Date: Nov, 2006 Source Volume: 34 Source Issue: 2|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States|
Educational outreach programs from Human Ecology's Department
of Design and Environmental Analysis (DEA) take aim at two serious
problems for homeowners and renters today: unhealthy indoor environments
and rising energy bills. Led by Joseph Laquatra, the Hazel E. Reed Human
Ecology Extension Professor in Family Policy, and Extension Associate
Mark Pierce, the DEA education program confronts high energy costs and
environmental health problems with a range of tactics.
Energy Town Meetings Participants in a popular series of Energy Town Meetings "attend" these workshops virtually, by way of wide-area network teleconferencing or web streaming. The town meetings, sponsored in part by NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority), cover such topics as mold mitigation, indoor air quality, lighting and heating system efficiency, and photovoltaic and wind energy technologies.
Hundreds of building and remodeling professionals, educators, and the general public have participated in the workshops. Additional support from Cornell Cooperative Extension encourages county extension educators to attend the trainings and, in turn, to teach thousands of others with curricula and "Energy $mart" materials developed by Cornell and NYSERDA.
Laquatra's educational outreach work has earned him a national reputation as an expert in house health problems. His phone rang for months after Hurricane Katrina turned Gulf Coast homes into a morass of mold. Louisiana is one of the few states to regulate mold-mitigation contractors, Laquatra notes, but much work remains before homes in and around New Orleans are safe to reinhabit.
Widespread flooding over a period of four days in the Southern Tier and Catskills of New York State in late June 2006 resulted in 20 counties being included in a federal declaration of disaster. Damage to homes, property, agriculture, and infrastructure was widespread. In the immediate aftermath, Laquatra and Pierce prepared "Responding to Flood Damage" packets of information. The materials, including items written by Cornell faculty and others prepared by the Red Cross and FEMA, were distributed widely across the area.
Healthy Homes Video Mold is just one of the allergens covered in a new educational video from DEA. Healthy Homes: Assessing Your Indoor Environment was produced by Laquatra and a video crew from the Ithaca-based Christopher Julian Designworks.
Available in DVD format with English and Spanish language tracks, the video was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Healthy Homes and Lead Hazard Control and supported by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Healthy Homes follows county Cornell Cooperative Extension educators on requested visits to two homes in need of help. In one, an elderly woman is concerned because a leaky furnace released carbon monoxide (before repairs were made), but she learns of other dangers lurking: radon and mold in the basement and lead in old paint where her grandchildren play. In the same town, an apartment-dwelling boy suffers with asthma. The extension educator soon discovers several asthma "triggers": secondhand smoke from the father's cigarettes, dander from the family dog, and cockroaches from a nearby restaurant.
The DVD has a happy ending when homeowners and renters learn their problems can be solved. The grandmother is relieved that test results from the radon kit in her basement are below EPA "action levels." She learns how to clean paint-borne lead dust from windowsills and where to place mold-busting dehumidifiers.
The asthmatic boy breathes easier because the dog has been trained to sleep in its own bed, his father now smokes outdoors, and the roaches are controlled by sticky traps, not toxic pesticides.
Another happy ending occurred recently in real life. HUD employee Emily Williams gave a training session to field staff, and the next day she was visited in her office by a participant. "She told me that the segment in the DVD on carbon dioxide poisoning made a dramatic impact on her. She had neglected to keep her gas furnace maintained and had experienced flu-like symptoms all winter. She said she was purchasing C[O.sub.2] detectors that very day, seeing a doctor, and having her furnace repaired immediately," recalls Williams.
Healthy Homes: Assessing Your Indoor Environment was distributed by CSREES and HUD to extension specialists and HUD employees throughout the U.S. For more information on this resource, contact Joseph Laquatra at JL27@cornell.edu.
For more information on healthful indoor environments, see www.hud.gov/offices/lead.
For more information:
Design and Environmental Analysis
E208 Martha Van
Ithaca, NY 14853-4401
|Gale Copyright:||Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.|