Energy efficiency improves your quality of life: learn how to insulate
Last updated 11/17/2017
In addition to having financial and environmental benefits, energy efficiency can improve the quality of life within your home. Optimizing household energy use increases the comfort of living in your home and yields notable health benefits.
With energy efficiency measures in place, interior conditions in the winter will be warmer and drier due to the enhanced retention of heat. Furthermore, an upgraded heating and cooling system will improve airflow throughout your home and reduce the accumulation of airborne pollutants. Even if you aren’t concerned with your energy costs, energy efficiency is a holistic investment you should consider for your comfort and health.
When you assign a monetary value to all of the benefits of energy efficient indoor environments, they yield an overall cost-benefit ratio of over 4 to 1, and health advantages compose 75% of overall benefits. This ratio was found through comparing the value of avoided medical expenses and energy savings with the total costs associated with installing insulation and more energy efficient heaters.
Air sealing your home adds comfort
With energy efficient measures, the comfort of living in your home is guaranteed to rise significantly along with your utility savings. Weatherizing your home will seal air leaks and keep out chilly drafts, helping to maintain interior temperatures at a comfortable and steady level. Installing insulation will allow your home to better retain heat in the winters and stay cool in the summers without straining your heating and cooling systems.
All in all, energy efficient installments will better protect interior temperatures from the external environment, allowing you to live more comfortably inside your home during the day. At night, the comfort of having an air sealed home will also allow you to sleep better by eliminating disruptive fluctuations in temperature.
Health benefits of home insulation
Energy efficiency measures like improving insulation, weatherization, and heating and cooling systems all contribute to a warmer and drier home interior. These conditions are especially beneficial for young children, the elderly, and those who suffer from preexisting respiratory conditions.
In general, energy efficient indoor environments lower the risk of illness. However, this comes with an important caveat: if implemented without regard to proper ventilation, weatherization may trap airborne toxins and moisture that results in the accumulation of pollutants to unhealthy levels in your home. To prevent this from happening, you should pay special attention to your ventilation system and airflow when executing energy efficient renovations.
Airborne toxins such as radon, gas, or other particulate matter produced by cooking or inefficient heating equipment can contribute to headaches, nausea, fatigue, nasal congestion, and dry eyes, nose, and throat issues. Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that is released from the ground and is the second leading cause of lung cancer deaths in the United States. You should be wary of radon accumulation within your home and take necessary actions if radon levels are found to be problematic in your area.
In addition, you should also pay attention to other airborne irritants and pollutants as they are responsible for 40% of asthma attacks and other relatively minor health issues that are a nuisance, but can impact your health with prolonged exposure over time. Replacing air filters for your heating and cooling system in a timely manner will improve air flow and air quality in your home. More efficient and powerful heating and cooling systems can also facilitate airflow, further reducing the buildup of indoor pollution.
Dampness is also known to generate and exacerbate allergies and respiratory problems. Undesirable levels of moisture can also contribute to health problems through promoting the growth of mold which releases toxic spores into the air. An optimized heating system in conjunction with improved insulation will decrease dampness in all areas of your home and yield corresponding health benefits.
A warmer indoor environment also has effects on mental health through significantly reducing stress and depression among inhabitants. Energy efficiency measures affect mental health in a variety of ways: they eliminate chronic thermal discomfort and lower damp and mold levels, all while reducing financial stress related to high energy bills and the fear of falling into debt. The alleviation of financial stress through energy efficiency has been found to be the most influential factor in mental health improvements.
Furthermore, recent studies have shown that financial stress is a major source of aging physical appearances; the fact that you are cutting your energy bill by as much as 30% can have the extra bonus of making you look younger in addition to boosting your physical and mental well-being.