How Insulation Can Save Lives

Benefits include lower CO2 emissions and better air quality

July 09, 2016
Thermal imaging camera at work. Photo: /suljo

A thermal imaging device shows heat loss in a typical home. Photo: /suljo

Insulation-related health benefits in the U.S. could save 320 lives per year and cut U.S. power-plant carbon-dioxide emissions by more than 3 percent, according to research from the Boston University School of Public Health.

Researchers devised simulations in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s “Clean Power Plan,” which set up state-specific carbon-dioxide reduction goals for electricity-generating stations that burn fossil fuels. The EPA issued the goals in August 2015.

To examine the carbon-dioxide potential and benefits associated with more home insulation, researchers used estimates of current home insulation levels and other building characteristics to simulate home energy use for each state. They then simulated home energy use as if every home were insulated to International Energy Conservation Code 2012 levels.

The findings reveal that these levels of home insulation would reduce fossil-fuel power station carbon-dioxide emissions by roughly 3.6 percent. The researchers also concluded that increased insulation levels would improve ambient air quality. Specifically, the reduction in fine particulate matter and ozone concentrations would result in 320 fewer pollution-related premature deaths nationwide each year.

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About the Author

About the Author

David Weissman is associate editor for Professional Remodeler



There is no way the EPA measured IAQ health risks associated with insulating and tightening up an old home against emissions from power plants. 3.6% is a drop in the bucket. The number of homes that have combustion spillage issues prior to insulation and air sealing is already over 20%. This reporting is either misleading or inaccurate, or both.

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