What The Heck Is HOMEChem?
This week’s episode features an interview with Corbett Lunsford on the HOMEChem experiments that were being conducted alongside the filming of a brand new, building science focused show called Home Diagnosis TV (be on the lookout for that). Of course, we're really excited about the potential of Indoor Air Quality education coming to the masses. It's the future fulcrum point of housing and health care.
The HOMEChem experiment (House Observations of Microbial and Environmental Chemistry) took place in the month of June 2018, incorporating measurements from over 15 research groups from 9 universities to identify the most important aspects of the chemistry that controls the indoor environment. The HOMEChem field study is expected to kick-start and energize the Chemistry of Indoor Environments community of scientists, while also answering interesting preliminary science questions on the chemistry of indoor environments in a real-world experimental setting. This brings an excellent opportunity for outreach to the broader scientific community and other stakeholders, such as other funding agencies, the local and national media, and the public.
Corbett Lunsford wasn't always a building forensics expert- he used to play piano for ballerinas (among many other things). Since 2008, he has been educating and advocating for better performance testing in construction.
Among his goals are to package building performance so it can easily be understood and used by professionals and consumers alike, for better buildings worldwide. Corbett believes that homeowners are not just aiming for efficiency or sustainability, but that we really want what all homeowners aim for: living in a better home, and getting a better life.
Since 2009, Corbett has put on his Building Performance Workshop, and has hosted over 300 YouTube videos and 80 interviews for the Building Performance Podcast. He wrote the book Home Performance Diagnostics: the Guide to Advanced Testing, and developed the APT Reports software tool.
In 2016 he and his wife, Grace, built the world's highest performance tiny house on wheels, the #TinyLab, and toured the US before settling down in Atlanta, Georgia.
Of course, they’ve performed hundreds of comprehensive home performance tests and building investigations, keynoted for events including InfraMation, Habitat for Humanity Michigan, the Thermal Imaging Conference, the EPA, IR Info, etc, and presented courses in partnership with National Healthy Homes, Air Conditioning Contractors of America, the RESNET and Affordable Comfort (ACI) Conferences.
Home Diagnosis TV
We're excited to share and help promote a brand new show that will air on PBS in 2019 called Home Diagnosis TV. Our friend and colleague, Corbett Lunsford, and his wife Grace have been working tirelessly the last few years to make this project a reality and we are so proud of the result. You may have seen Corbett & Grace before on their Proof Is Possible U.S. tour. You'll be seeing a lot more from us about this show as it launches.
Here's the description from the Home Diagnosis TV website:
Many of the products we use every day contain chemicals of concern that may be harming our health. Many of these substances can be grouped into “Six Classes”, each containing similar chemicals. The Six Classes approach allows us to better understand these chemicals, their functions, where they are used, and how they can be avoided. It can prevent a cycle of “regrettable substitution,” whereby a phased out harmful chemical is replaced with a closely related chemical which may cause similar harm.
Founded in 1934 by industrialist Alfred P. Sloan Jr., the Foundation is a not-for-profit grantmaking institution that supports high quality, impartial scientific research; fosters a robust, diverse scientific workforce; strengthens public understanding and engagement with science; and promotes the health of the institutions of scientific endeavor.
Brominated Flame Retardants
As many of you already know, we're interested in indoor air quality and more broadly interested in the health impacts of the built environment. It's fundamentally changing the way we design, build, and specify. The materials we use have properties that can either help or harm the people that come into contact with them. So let's take a look at a particularly nasty component of many materials: halogenated and brominated flame retardants.
The Green Science Policy Institute was founded in 2008 in Berkeley, California by Executive Director Arlene Blum after she learned that the same chlorinated tris that her research had helped remove from children’s pajamas in the 1970s was back in furniture and baby products. Since its founding, Green Science Policy Institute has stopped ten unneeded flammability standards and prevented hundreds of millions of pounds of toxic flame retardants from being added to consumer products.
The U.S. scientific community has long led the world in research on public health, environmental science, and other issues affecting the quality of life. Our scientists have produced landmark studies on the dangers of DDT, tobacco smoke, acid rain, and global warming. But at the same time, a small yet potent subset of this community leads the world in vehement denial of these dangers.
In their new book, Merchants of Doubt, historians Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway explain how a loose–knit group of high-level scientists, with extensive political connections, ran effective campaigns to mislead the public and deny well-established scientific knowledge over four decades. In seven compelling chapters addressing tobacco, acid rain, the ozone hole, global warming, and DDT, Oreskes and Conway roll back the rug on this dark corner of the American scientific community, showing how the ideology of free market fundamentalism, aided by a too-compliant media, has skewed public understanding of some of the most pressing issues of our era.