First Advisor

Vivek Shandas

Term of Graduation

Winter 2022

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Urban Studies


Urban Studies and Planning




Architecture and energy conservation, Indoor air quality, Dwellings -- Heating and ventilation -- Health aspects, Dwellings -- Heating and ventilation -- Costs, Poor, Indoor air pollution -- Oregon -- Portland -- Case studies, Heat waves (Meteorology) -- Health aspects, Wildfires -- Health aspects



Physical Description

1 online resource (xi, 142 pages)


Extreme heat and wildfire events are becoming more prolific and exacerbated by climate change, carrying significant implications for environmental and social systems. Residential buildings play a central role in protecting people from heat and pollutant exposure during extreme weather events, but the level of protection varies dramatically depending on building energy efficiency and technology availability. Low-income and communities of color have higher energy burdens compared to affluent populations, and underserved communities often do not have financial resources for, or access to, advanced building technologies. This dissertation explores the impacts of extreme heat and wildfire on residential buildings, focused specifically on occupant exposure risks related to energy performance and indoor air quality (IAQ). The research presented explores the complex influences that location and socio-demographics play on residential energy burdens, with a particular focus on how low-income households are impacted by inequitable energy systems.

This dissertation presents three essays that cover related aspects of IAQ, energy efficiency and equity. The first essay employs a dataset of over 16,000 homes to investigate the relationship between urban heat and residential building energy use, with a particular focus on access to air conditioning and the influence of building characteristics. The second essay presents an experimental assessment of interventions to reduce fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in a home during a wildfire event, using data gathered during a large wildfire in Portland, Oregon in September 2020. The third essay uses data from a low-income energy efficiency program to explore how building characteristics impact energy burdens in low-income housing. Collective findings from the research highlights the need for an energy efficient, resilient housing stock, and supports policies to advance energy equity as a top priority for decarbonizing the building sector.


© 2021 Chrissi Argyro Antonopoulos

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