Investing in energy efficiency delivers substantial financial and environmental benefits. Energy efficiency can also improve resident health. Improvements to insulation, air sealing, heating equipment, and ventilation can improve indoor air quality by reducing contaminants like mold and protect residents from extreme temperatures. Indoor air contaminants have been linked to chronic respiratory illnesses such as asthma. Exposure to extreme temperatures can result in cardiac failure, stroke, and respiratory infections.
The health benefits of energy efficiency are more pronounced for individuals with preexisting health conditions. Chronic illnesses such as asthma disproportionately impact racial minorities: black children are diagnosed with asthma at twice the rate of white children and the rate of death caused by asthma is nearly three times as high for black individuals as compared to white individuals.
Energy efficiency retrofits also provide an opportunity to improve housing conditions through the use of healthy building materials. There can be risks to resident health from insulation and air-sealant materials that contain persistent, bioaccumulative, and/or toxic chemicals. Fortunately, there are solutions thanks to innovative new products and improved versions of well-known products coming to market. Energy Efficiency for All has a team of experts dedicated to accelerating the encouraging trend toward the use of healthier building materials.
Berta Zometa says she’s able to save more money now that her energy costs have dropped after her apartment received efficiency upgrades through a utility energy efficiency program.
Photo by Marcela Gara, Resource Media.