ARB Research Seminar

This page updated August 29, 2013

Kitchen Ventilation Solutions to Indoor Air Pollution Hazards from Cooking

Photo of Brett C. Singer, Ph.D.

Brett C. Singer, Ph.D., Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

October 10, 2013
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA

Research Project


Cooking and gas burners produce air pollutants that can reach levels in homes that exceed limits set for outdoor air to protect health. Venting with well-designed and properly installed range hoods can effectively remove these pollutants at the source and substantially reduce exposures. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) has been studying both the theoretical and the practical effectiveness of both local range hood ventilation and general kitchen ventilation. Effectiveness varies widely based on device design and installation and features of the home. The fraction of emitted pollutants that is removed by a range hood before the pollutants mix throughout the home - termed "first pass capture efficiency" varies from <10% to close to 100%, depending on hood design, airflow setting, and which burners are used. Current standards - including the ASHRAE 62.2 residential ventilation standard - focus on airflow and sound level as key performance metrics. LBNL has found that hoods operating at the ASHRAE minimum flow requirement of 100 cubic feet per minute have capture efficiencies below 25%% when front burners are used. Installed performance can be even worse. In-home measurements by LBNL have found that installed hoods often do not achieve rated or advertised flow rates. Currently there is not information available to consumers or contractors about the pollutant capture performance of range hoods or other kitchen ventilation. LBNL is working with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) to develop a standard method for testing range hood capture efficiency.

This presentation will include estimates of the hazard associated with unvented cooking burners, results of laboratory and in-home measurements of range hood performance, and simulations assessing the potential effectiveness of general kitchen ventilation. Recent experiments that quantified capture efficiency for cooking particles and burner combustion gases during the same cooking events will also be discussed. The presentation will also address challenges related to range hood exhaust including system price, noise, and depressurization that can result when a large exhaust fan is operated in an airtight home.

Speaker Biography

Brett C. Singer, Ph.D., is a Staff Scientist and Principal Investigator in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Dr. Singer is a Deputy Leader of the Indoor Environment Group and principal director of Indoor Air Quality research for the Residential Building Systems Group. Dr. Singer has conceived, conducted and led research projects related to air pollutant emissions, physical-chemical processes, and pollutant exposures in both outdoor and indoor environments. In recent years his research has focused on residential indoor environmental quality with special attention to energy efficient homes.

For a complete listing of the ARB Research Seminars and the related documentation
for the seminars please view the Main Seminars web page