Tribal Indoor Air Quality

Building Performance: Improving IAQ in Cold Climates


This online course has been developed as an introduction to building science principles important to healthy, comfortable, energy efficient homes and is intended to help tribal professionals understand and optimize the dynamic “building ecosystem” for occupancy wellness and building performance.

This course was originally developed for Alaska Villages, however, it is applicable to many tribes in cold climates. It will provide participants with an understanding of how the home responds as a “living system” and help participants understand what to look for during a residential home assessment. This online course is equivalent to 0.8 CEUs and requires approximately 8 hours of total learning time. CEUs are earned by completing the following course modules:

  • Building Science Basics
  • Building Structure and Mechanics
  • Occupant Behaviors

Participants enrolled in this course are expected to have a good understanding of IAQ basics and a basic understanding of homes in your communities including: sources, health effects, actions to improve IAQ, and what kind of concerns you are trying to address. This course reviews building science principles important to healthy, comfortable, energy efficient homes. 

After completing this online course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand how the home responds like a “living system”
  • Understand what to look for during an IAQ assessment

This course will NOT provide a comprehensive understanding of design and construction details.


  • Rich Seifert, Professor, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Energy and Housing Specialist
  • Mansel Nelson, Senior Program Coordinator, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals, Mansel.Nelson@nau.edu 

Many of the presentations within this course were originally developed as an online version of the cold climate homebuilding techniques workshop that Extension’s Rich Seifert has taught for many years. All Extension’s recordings are available at: https://itunes.apple.com/itunes-u/cold-climate-building-course/id506895267  

Online platform technical support: itep-elearning@nau.edu 

Below is a preview of the course content. Log in to your account and enroll to access the material.

Course Content

  • FileCourse Navigation Instructions
  • PageVideo: Introduction to Building Science Basics - The Home as a Living System
  • PageVideo: ANTHC’s Let’s Clear the Air: Simple Steps To a Healthier Home (5:45 min)
  • ForumNews forum
  • ForumIntroduce Yourself Here
  • FileUAF Cooperative Extension Service's Alaska Residential Building Manual 7th Edition
  • URLTribal Indoor Air Funding Directory (THHN)
  • FileChapter 2 of UAF's Alaska Residential Building Manual 2008
  • Assignment1.1 Assignment 1: Building Science Concepts Listening Guide
  • Page1.2 Video: Building Science Concepts Overview (14:03 min)
  • Page1.3 Video: Introduction to Heat Transfer and Energy Flow (19:45 min)
  • Page1.4 Video: Air Flow (6:42 min)
  • Page1.5 Videos: Moisture (14:08 min, 2:37 min, 2:27 min, 8:45 min)
  • FileResource file: Relative Humidity Chart specific to AK (35-50% ideal range)
  • Quiz1.6 Quiz: Building Science Concepts
  • FileChapter 9 of UAF’s Cooperative Extension Service’s Alaska Residential Building Manual
  • FileChapter 7 of UAF’s Cooperative Extension Service’s Alaska Residential Building Manual
  • Assignment2.1 Assignment 2: Building Structure and Mechanics Listening Guide
  • Page2.2 Video: Principles of Good Ventilation (14:43 min)
  • Page2.3 Video: Effective Ventilation Systems and Strategies (6:38 min)
  • Page2.4 Videos: Heat Recovery Ventilators (9:44 min, 7:55 min)
  • Page2.5 Video: Ventilation Summary (6:12 min)
  • Page2.6 Video: Attics and Roofs (21:48 min)
  • Quiz2.7 Quiz: Building Structure and Mechanics
  • Assignment3.1 Assignment 3: Occupant Behaviors Listening Guide
  • Page3.2 Video: Assessing IAQ: Discussions with Occupants
  • FileResource file: Occupant Interview Form
  • Page3.3 Video: Helping Occupants Improve IAQ
  • Forum3.4 Activity and Discussion: Finding IAQ Resources
  • Quiz3.5 Quiz: Occupant Behaviors
  • AssignmentBuilding Performance Reflective Writing
  • QuizBuilding Performance Final Exam
  • QuestionnaireBuilding Performance Course Evaluation
  • ForumQuestions or comments about the course?