With a focus on reducing the health effects of outdoor pollutants indoors, what does ROCIS have to do with cooking?

No, we are not addressing outdoor grilling. Cooking in kitchens is a significant, consistent contributor to indoor air quality. While the best way to reduce indoor exposure to outdoor particles is to close windows and tighten a building, the conundrum is that doing so can concentrate pollutants that are generated inside. To reduce exposure, we need to address both outdoor and indoor contributors to poor air quality. The majority of Pittsburgh homes represented in the ROCIS Low Cost Monitoring Project do not have vented kitchen range hoods. And, we found that guidance on selecting and installing range hoods was lacking; common installation practices lead to devices that capture less than 30% of the cooking pollution.

With the approach of winter, colder weather, and holiday season cooking, we are featuring both practical guidance as well as research results that address the reduction of exposure to cooking-related emissions.


1) Review the ROCIS website for the Range Hood best practice guidelines, tools, and resources (Phillips, 2018).

2) View Tom Phillips presentation, given at the October North American Passive House Network 2018 conference, Healthy Kitchen Ventilation: Best Practices In Low-E Homes (PDF)

A wealth of information for all homes.

3) Join the Kitchen Ventilation Group on Home Energy Pros

Dig in deeper:

1) HRVs and ERVs Can’t Cope with Indoor Cooking Pollution. A recent IAQ study of cooking in nine Passive or airtight homes and one conventional home in Colorado found that heat or energy recovery ventilators were generally not effective in removing indoor PM2.5 cooking emissions. Measured and modeled indoor PM2.5 remained high for several hours after frying an egg on an induction hot plate. However, an 85% reduction was measured in a conventional home with an exhaust (ducted) range hood and ventilator, and modeled PM2.5 levels dropped below 35 ug/m3 within 20 minutes. Elevated radon and formaldehyde levels were found in some homes, and elevated CO2 levels in some bedrooms indicated that current ventilation practices may be inadequate.

More Info: Militello-Hourigan and Miller, 2018 paper, available on request;

Miller 2018 blog article, pictures, and recommendations.

Exhaustive study looking at kitchen exhaust and household air quality (Alter, 2018, Treehugger blog).

2) Efficiency of recirculating hoods with regard to PM2.5 and NO2, and ozone emissions from plasma hoods (Jacobs and Cornelissen, 2017).

3) High-heat cooking of meat may affect type 2 diabetes risk (Liu et al., 2018). According to Harvard School of Public Health, new research suggests a possible connection between high-heat meat cooking and type 2 diabetes.

Recent papers on indoor PM diagnostics, modeling, and behavioral interventions (Jones et al., 2018; O’Leary et al., 2018a; O’Leary et al. 2018b).