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Media Advisory: HOMEChem Project Tests Indoor Air Quality During Open House

Leading experts from 12 universities will come to The University of Texas at Austin’s J.J. Pickle Research Campus to participate in a first-of-its-kind indoor air quality and surface chemistry experiment. 

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What: Leading experts from 13 universities will come to The University of Texas at Austin’s J.J. Pickle Research Campus to participate in a first-of-its-kind indoor air quality and surface chemistry experiment. Hosted by researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering, the experiment will take place inside the UTest House, a manufactured home retrofitted by Texas Engineers to study various aspects of the indoor environment, including indoor air quality.

When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, June 22

Where: Center for Energy and Environmental Resources (CEER), Bldg. 133, J.J. Pickle Research Campus, 10100 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78758

Media: The HOMEChem open house event will begin with an overview presentation in the CEER conference room. This will be followed by a guided tour of the UTest House and instrumentation setup.

Researchers participating in HOMEChem will be on site and available for interviews, and members of the media will be able to see some of the most sophisticated instruments being used to measure indoor air quality and surface chemistry.

Staff members will be on hand throughout the day to walk visitors to the UTest House. Those attending the open house are encouraged to arrive at CEER for the overview presentation, but attendees can come at any time, and there will be staffers available to meet them. If anyone is unable to walk to the house, please let us know in advance and arrangements will be made.

Parking: Parking passes will be available for media upon advanced request.

Public parking is available at the J.J. Pickle Research Campus and costs $4 per day.

Background: In the United States, the average human being spends an estimated 90 percent of his or her life indoors. Whether we are working, relaxing, cooking, cleaning or sleeping, the vast majority of such activities take place inside.

In the largest-ever indoor air quality and surface chemistry experiment, almost 60 researchers will take state-of-the-art measurements of a variety of compounds in the air. The unprecedented monthlong project, called HOMEChem (House Observations of Microbial and Environmental Chemistry), will shed new light on a number of key areas and explore in depth what controls indoor air quality and surface chemistry, with a particular emphasis being placed on the effects of cleaning and cooking.

Working in a variety of academic and industrial fields including engineering, chemistry and microbiology, no experiment of this scale has ever been attempted or involved as many institutions and disciplines. (Other institutions involved include University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado State University; the University of California, Berkeley; Indiana University; the University of Toronto; Syracuse University; Drexel University; and the University of California, San Diego. In addition, researchers from Harvard University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Washington University in St. Louis and the College of William & Mary are also participating. Industry partners include Picarro, Airmodus, Handix Scientific and the IAQ sensor company.)

HOMEChem is being funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Chemistry of Indoor Environments Program.

For more information and to RSVP to the open house event, visit tinyurl.com/HOMEChemOpen.