Residential energy efficiency (EE) program administrators and other stakeholders are increasingly interested in understanding the potential occupant health benefits of EE upgrades in homes, and the methodologies to fully value health co-benefits in EE program cost-effectiveness practices. Interest is growing in exploring opportunities to work with health partners to leverage the EE workforce to improve health outcomes, particularly for those with pre-existing health risks linked to their home environment.

“We know that when energy efficiency work is done well with solid ventilation, those living in the home are less likely to have respiratory and other health issues, particularly occupants with pre-existing issues like asthma,” said  Ellen Tohn of Tohn Environmental Strategies LLC. “Research documents a 12 percent decline in asthma emergency department visits after DOE funded Weatherization and a 21 percent decline in poorly controlled asthma in children after their homes receive energy efficiency plus targeted home repairs. Such asthma improvements are significant because asthma affects seven percent of adults and roughly 15 percent of lower income households. Connecting energy, health and housing programs offers great promise.”

Residential EE programs typically improve the building envelope and heating systems, creating warmer and more comfortable homes.

A November 2016 White Paper published by E4 The Future, Inc., details the varied advantages of residential energy efficiency programs. The project team included Tohn Environmental Strategies, The National Center for Healthy Housing and Three3.

View the entire White Paper here.