Paul Francisco, manager of the University of Illinois’ Climate Research and Training program, was featured in The News Gazette’s Wired In on November 17, 2019. Originally, the program was part of the Research Park’s Building Research Council, but not it continues to do weatherization training while studying energy efficiency and air quality. According to Francisco, he was inspired to look towards energy efficiency due to a former Seattle position. He discussed how he came to the realization that housing, indoor air quality, health, and energy efficiency are interconnected — all while finding a bird’s nest in a return duct.
Francisco has worked with the ICRT program since 2003. In 2010, the US Department of Energy provided a grant to the team to create a weatherization training center. “Since then, we have evolved to have about 10 people; the training program has increased in scope; we have expanded our space by about 60 percent; at any time, we have six or more research projects going on; and we have three people on staff dedicated to the training program,” he explained.
The team looks at various types of contaminants, such as radon, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide, and excessive moisture. Francisco pointed out current problems in ventilation systems and made suggestions regarding radon-level control. When it comes to future research, however, he stated that he visualizes the team expanding so it includes non-engineers, including environmental health researchers. He expects the team to approach energy assessment of the home as opportunities to ensure safety, health, and efficiency.
To read the whole interview, click HERE.