Health And Financial Benefits Of Weatherizing Low-Income Homes In The Southeastern United States


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The purpose of this research is to estimate the non-energy impacts that could be attributed to weatherizing lowincome homes in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. Commonly installed weatherization measures include insulation, air sealing, and heating system replacement. A hybrid quasi-experimental, cross-sectional research design was implemented. Under this design three samples of households were recruited for the project: Comparison homes that had been weatherized one-year previously; Treatment homes that were in the queue to be weatherized; and Control homes that were not going to be weatherized during the course of the project. Control homes were drawn from a lengthy waiting list. Homes were surveyed twice. The first phase occurred during four-month period when Treatment homes came up for weatherization. Comparison and Control homes were also surveyed during this four-month period. The second phase entailed surveying all households approximately one-year later. The phone survey contained questions about home conditions, health of occupants, and household finances. The crosssectional analyses were much stronger, from a statistical significant viewpoint, than the quasi-experimental design approach because sample sizes were larger for the former and the latter was plagued by inexplicably large changes reported by the Control group. Post-weatherization homes were less likely to be kept at unhealthy temperatures, were less drafty and dusty, and had reduced levels of mold and intrusion of outdoor noise and odors. Respondents reported fewer bad days of physical and mental health. Households were better able to pay their energy bills and afford prescriptions.
Energy program evaluation, Weatherization, Health benefits, Social determinants of health, Low-income
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