Improving Assessment of Residential Exposures for Home Energy Efficiency and Health Studies
Ellison Carter Colorado State University Fort Collins, CO
Rigorous evaluation of well characterized housing interventions and the extent to which they achieve their intended benefits is crucial to shaping effective housing policy and investments in the United States. Although home energy efficiency upgrades are anticipated to positively influence health through multiple physiological and psychological pathways, only a very limited number of studies have been able to provide evidence to support this hypothesis. One major obstacle to this work has been a lack of clear indicators to track that bear robust relationships with residential exposures to physiological stressors of chemical and psychosocial origin. Another major obstacle is a lack of methods and tools that are low-burden to implement in a large number of homes for sufficient follow up periods. The proposed pilot study seeks to lower persistent barriers to measurement and modeling of home-based exposures and narrow key knowledge gaps on relationships between housing and health by leveraging an existing field-based housing study and developing foundational datasets needed for larger-scale housing studies through the blended application of measurement tools from the engineering, health, and social sciences.
Exploring Associations between Temperature Exposure, Housing Quality, and Health During the Winter in Energy Poor Households.
Tony Reames University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
Chronic energy poverty affects millions of US households. One in three US households report suffering some form of energy insecurity such as leaving their homes at an unhealthy temperature or being unable to afford to use or repair broken heating equipment. Environmental health hazards and indoor temperature extremes in cold, drafty homes may contribute to illness or death. The Federal Government spends billions of dollars each year to assist energy poor households with their utility bills, however, we know little about the housing conditions of Low-income Home Energy Assistance Program recipients and the potential dangerous environmental exposures. This study explores the lived experience of 50 energy poor households seeking to understand their indoor temperature exposure during winter, the energy efficiency of their homes, and physical and mental health outcome associated with energy poverty and temperature exposure in southeast Michigan. The study conducts objective measurements of temperature and energy efficiency and perceptions of physical and mental health.