Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a critical issue facing many tribes throughout the country. Improving indoor air quality can result in significant improvements in health thereby decreasing medical costs and improving quality of life.

The EPA has identified and characterized significant risks to public health from indoor environmental contaminants that are commonly found in homes, schools and offices, where Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time. Indoor levels of air pollution may be two to five times higher, and occasionally 100 times higher, than outdoor levels. Common indoor air contaminants include radon, secondhand smoke, mold, irritant and allergenic asthma triggers, combustion by-products and volatile organic compounds.

With support from USEPA's Office of Radiation & Indoor Air (ORIA) – ITEP is developing a program to assist tribes with Indoor Air Quality issues in the following focus areas:

  • Radon
  • Indoor Asthma Triggers
  • Indoor Air Quality Management Programs in Schools
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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; course content is also available on-demand for the casual learner:

  • 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.

 Instructors:

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  

The Radon Fundamentals course has been developed to provide tribes with, an introduction to the mechanics of radon, examples of how tribes are addressing radon, and possible funding opportunities. This course does not provide radon certification.

The presentations in this course were originally developed as webinars in February and March 2016 in collaboration with US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 9 Tribal Indoor Air Quality and Health Network and staff from Spokane Tribe Department of Natural Resources, Navajo Nation EPA, Taos Pueblo Tribal Housing Office, University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This online course is equivalent to 0.7 continuing education units (CEUs) and requires approximately seven hours of total learning time. CEUs are earned by completing the following course modules; course content is also available on-demand for the casual learner:

  • Introduction to Radon
  • Testing for Radon
  • How Tribes are Addressing Radon
  • Radon Funding

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

  • Explain what radon is.
  • Describe the potential health effects from exposure to radon.   
  • Describe how radon enters a home.
  • Recognize which radon mitigation systems are effective for different types of building structures.
  • Locate different types of testing devices available for testing indoor radon levels.
  • Locate additional training that will enable tribal staff to become certified in radon testing and mitigate radon.
  • Initiate the development of a tribal radon program.
  • Locate funding sources for radon testing and mitigation.

Presenters Include:

Mansel Nelson, Senior Program Coordinator, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals

Nolan Hoskie, Radon Specialist, Navajo Nation EPA

Twa-le Abrahamson-Swan, Air Quality Program Manager, Spokane Tribe

Terron Chischilly, Radon Specialist, Navajo Nation EPA

Ryder Freed, Air Radiation Program Coordinator, US EPA Region 9

Jed Harrison, Former Director of the EPA Radiation and Indoor Environments National Lab and Former Sr. Tribal Advisor for the EPA Office of Radiation and Indoor Air

Daniel V. Suazo, Construction Projects Manager, Tribal Housing Office, Taos Pueblo

Sarah Olsen, Grants Management, US Department of HUD

Rich Seifert, Professor Emeritus, University of Alaska Fairbanks

Residential Building Science Review provides tribal environmental professionals with a review of how a home responds as a dynamic system and basic building science principles. This short online course has been developed to prepare individuals for the Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals’ in-person Indoor Air Quality Diagnostic Tools course and is required prior to being accepted to the course. Instructors delivering content for this online course expect you have a good understanding of indoor air quality (IAQ) basics and a basic understanding of IAQ and health, environmental conditions, structural design and construction, operation and maintenance issues for residential homes in your community. This online course is equivalent to 0.4 continuing education units (CEUs) and requires approximately four hours of total learning time. CEUs can be earned by completing the following course topics:

  • A Building Ecosystem
  • Air Flow
  • Heat Transfer
  • Moisture Dynamics

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

  • Explain how the home responds as a “dynamic system.”
  • Identify basic building science principles.  

Presenters and Instructors:

Jed Harrison, former Indoor Air Quality/Building Science Researcher/EPA Lab Director

Rich Seifert, Professor Emeritus, Building Scientist, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Energy and Housing Specialist

Mansel Nelson, Senior Program Coordinator and Chemical Engineer, Institute for Tribal Environmental Professionals; Working with Tribal Communities for Over 25 Years