Improving Health Equity Through Residential Electrification And Energy Efficiency: State Of Practice In The Us
Date of Award
Open Access Thesis
Master of Public Health (MPH)
School of Public Health
Improving residential building efficiency and transitioning from fossil fuels for climate alignment has been a primary focus in climate change mitigation efforts. Energy efficiency is usually achieved through tightening buildings by sealing gaps that allow conditioned air to pass through. However, early research highlighted the potential for more efficient buildings to also limit the supply of outdoor air, leading to increased indoor concentrations of various air pollutants. Tightening buildings for efficiency must therefore be accompanied by supplemental ventilation to preserve indoor air quality. However, less is known about the effects of specific indoor pollutant sources. It is hypothesized that indoor air will still be negatively impacted if pollutant sources, such as combustion appliances, are not also removed. A scoping-style review identified 15 studies related to energy efficiency retrofits, building fuel types, and indoor air quality, and the related impact on health. Energy-efficiency interventions discussed in the reviewed publications included insulating, air sealing, upgrading appliances, upgrading or installing kitchen and bathroom exhaust, installing continuous mechanical ventilation, providing particle filtration, installing efficient windows and doors, and replacing gas stoves/ovens with newer or electric alternatives. Health was assessed in six of the studies; two studies considered asthma-related symptoms and four studies assessed other outcomes including PM2.5-related mortality, sick building syndrome symptoms, general and mental health, and child behaviors. The quantification of costs associated with healthcare utilization and energy usage was not a primary focus in this literature. Health was generally improved through layered energy efficiency retrofit approaches that included exhaust, ventilation, filtration, and electric stove installation, which also reduced the payback periods of these interventions.
Lu, Alice, "Improving Health Equity Through Residential Electrification And Energy Efficiency: State Of Practice In The Us" (2023). Public Health Theses. 2300.
This Article is Open Access
This is an Open Access Thesis.