We’re examining the link between enhancing indoor air quality and reducing childhood asthma symptoms.

Get the FAQs

Thank you for your interest in the 2016 HEALTH-R Study!

Welcome. This website provides detailed information about a health study that examines the link between enhancing indoor air quality and reducing childhood asthma symptoms. This study is formally called the Housing and Energy Attributes Linked To Health through Retrofits, or “HEALTH-R.”

The study recruitment period has ended.  You can check back periodically for information and updates.  The study is expected to finish in late 2017.

HEALTH-R Contributors


We answer your questions about the HEALTH-R Study

Please read the Frequently Asked Questions before you apply. To read the full list of questions, click

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  • What is being studied?

    Asthma attacks and asthma symptoms are typically caused by the body’s reaction to asthma triggers. Pollen, dust mites, pests, mold spores, pet dander, and cigarette smoke are examples of triggers. Many triggers are always present in the home in low amounts. But when the amount or concentration of a trigger gets too large, it can trigger asthma symptoms or asthma attacks.

    Previous studies have shown that asthma attacks and asthma symptoms can be reduced by avoiding asthma triggers.

    This study examines a new approach for removing certain asthma triggers from the home. This new approach will make modifications to the building structure and to the heating, ventilation and cooling systems in the home based on current industry best practices. This study will test whether these modifications enhance quality of life for children with asthma living in modified homes.

  • Why are you studying this?

    The purpose of the study is to learn more about your family’s health and indoor environmental quality over two years – 1 year before housing improvements take place and one year after improvements take place. We will compare these results to homes that did not get the improvements over the same time frame. The study will also look to see how the improvements hold up over time and will quantify any energy savings.

  • What will you do in my house?

    We use the term, “enhance indoor air quality” to describe home improvements that are designed to help reduce triggers. Triggers can be brought in from the outside (such a pollen or dust particles that come in from open doors and windows), or they can be created when people or pets do things inside the house (such as burning candles, shedding hair, or smoking), or they can be created because the house is a good environment for them to grow (such as dust mites or mold that grow in high-humidity environments).

    The Building Performance Institute (BPI), the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA) have developed building standards that define high quality building practices, which includes methods to enhance indoor air quality. These standards have influenced the “Breathe Easy Home Indoor Air Quality System” that will be tested in this study. This system includes the best-in-class methods in the residential energy efficiency industry and the residential heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry.

    When comparing a typical older home with a home that meets the Breathe Easy Home Indoor Air Quality System guidelines, some or all of the following measures would typically be installed:

    • Air Sealing and Insulation
    • Duct Sealing
    • Duct Design Modifications
    • Fresh Air Ventilation
    • Whole Home Air Filtration
    • Humidity Control Devices

    To find out more about the solution, click here.. To find out why we believe the solution is likely to work, click here.. Since every house is different, and results may vary, we need to evaluate the results scientifically to determine if they work as expected.

    If you are selected to participate in the study, some houses will receive the intervention with asthma education, and some houses will have asthma education only, depending on random selection. If your home is not selected for the enhanced indoor air quality improvements, you will have the option of purchasing them at a substantial discount after the study is completed.

  • Will I be paid if you join this study? What will it cost me to be in the study?

    To compensate you for your time, we will pay you $50 or $100 for each phase of the study that you complete, up to $350. We will review the detailed compensation plan with you before you are enrolled in the study.

    There is no cost or fee to apply for the study. During the study, if you are in the intervention group, the home improvements will be installed at no cost to you. However, you should be aware of two possible costs. First, the installed home improvements are consistent with best practices in the Energy Efficiency industry, and should lower the costs to heat and cool your home. However, best practices in the Indoor Air Quality industry typically consume additional energy to run fans and provide filtration. Therefore, we are unable to determine if your energy bills will be more or less than you have had in the past. Second, at the end of the study, you will need to purchase the installed home improvements for $100. NCHH will explain to you how this purchase works during the enrollment process.

  • What is the study timeline?

    All participants will be selected on a first come first serve basis. We will visit your home to perform a home assessment, and we will conduct an interview and collect some air and dust samples before any changes are made to your home. Selected homes will be slotted into a 1 week period during the Summer of 2016 for the modifications to occur. Every four months for 1 year, you will be visited by a researcher to conduct a health interview, and to perform air quality measurements.

  • What if I have additional questions?

    Click here for the complete list of Frequently Asked Questions.