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Project Launch: 12/01/2018
Income Eligible

Partners: Elevate Energy, Illinois Institute of Technology

Initially funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, this study investigates the health impacts of installing mechanical ventilation systems in the homes of income eligible customers.


Breathe Easy is a study initially funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in partnership with Elevate Energy and Illinois Institute of Technology that began in December 2016. The study is investigating the ability of three distinct approaches to mechanical ventilation in income eligible customer homes to improve indoor air quality. The team is collecting and analyzing data on indoor air quality and environmental conditions and obtaining participant asthma symptom data through IRB-approved health surveys. They will also evaluate the impacts of each system type on building energy use and real-world cost of installation by contractors to provide a holistic understanding of the costs and benefits of ventilation systems.

Forty-four low- and moderate-income single and multifamily homes with at least one adult asthmatic resident in Chicago have been recruited for this study and are divided into three groups:

  • Group A will receive exhaust-only ventilation systems.
  • Group B will receive central-fan-integrated-supply systems with ECMs and auto fan-cycler timers integrated into existing air handling units.
  • Group C will receive continuous balanced supply and exhaust systems with Energy Recovery Ventilator units.