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Healthy Homes and a Healthy Bottom Line

Posted by Jim Gunshinan on December 02, 2016
Healthy Homes and a Healthy Bottom Line A contractor prepares to enter an attic. Air sealing between the unconditioned attic and the living space prevents unwanted air flow from the attic.

There has been a lot of interest of late in the weatherization and broader home performance community in putting a value on the health benefits of weatherization. We’ve come a long way in the last several years and have reached, I think, some strong consensus that the health benefits of weatherization and home performance retrofits are real and valuable. This means that making healthy housing a part of your business plan makes good sense.

Two recent events inspired me to write about healthy housing.

First, E4TheFuture is a nonprofit organization working to advance safe, efficient energy solutions with a focus on residential customers. The organization published a white paper in November that summarizes scientific study and makes a solid argument for adding increased occupant health to weatherization and home retrofit work scopes. Key findings in the white paper include the following.

  • Occupants can experience fewer asthma symptoms and respiratory related ED visits after EE.
  • Occupants report better physical and mental health after EE.
  • Programs 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 programs.
  • Homes receiving EE can experience increases in radon or formaldehyde; ventilation systems may offer the potential to reduce radon in such homes.

The full white paper, “Occupant Health Benefits of Residential Energy Efficiency” is available in PDF for download here.

Second, BPI is beginning a new Healthy Home Evaluator (HHE) certification. In fact on Tuesday, December 6, 2016 from 1:00-1:45pm EST, all healthy housing stakeholders, weatherization programs, and residential contractors are welcome to attend a webinar on the topic. The purpose of the webinar is to provide an overview on HHE certification and answer questions about the certification, training, and advances in healthy housing.

Click here to register to attend this free webinar.

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