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Occupant Health Benefits of Residential Energy Efficiency

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This paper reviews and summarises research studies of residential energy efficiency (EE) and related ventilation upgrades, discusses ways that programmes monetise occupant health co-benefits, highlights innovative programmes that combine EE and health-focused home repairs and identifies where research gaps exist, and/or where research can be improved and leveraged.

 

Key study findings include:

 

  • Occupants can experience fewer asthma symptoms and respiratory related emergency department (ED) visits after EE.
  • Occupants report better physical and mental health after EE.
  • Programmes delivering EE with added home repairs and client education can produce more significant improvements in asthma symptoms and indoor environmental conditions.
  • Improvements in occupant health are strongest among vulnerable groups: lower income households and residents with pre-existing health conditions linked to housing risks.
  • Whole house ventilation strategies using heat or energy recovery ventilators (HRVs or ERVs) can reduce asthma and respiratory symptoms in children with pre-existing risks. Such strategies are increasingly being considered in EE programmes.
  • Homes receiving EE can experience increases in radon or formaldehyde; ventilation systems may offer the potential to reduce radon in such homes.
  • The majority of studies were conducted in single family lower income homes located in predominately northern heating climates.

To download the paper, please visit the relevant E4The Future webpage at the link below.