Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison
We all know that turning off lights and buying energy-efficient appliances affects our financial bottom line. Now, according to a new study, we know that saving energy also saves lives and even more money for consumers by alleviating the costs of adverse health effects attributed to air pollution.
Researchers deployed a suite of three widely used models to calculate power plant emissions, air quality and human mortality over a span of three summer months, when energy use is high.
Their findings show that a 12 percent increase in summertime energy efficiency would reduce exposure to air pollution, specifically ozone and fine particulate matter.
In short, cleaner air would save 475 human lives each year in the United States, worth an estimated $4 billion
By showing the savings and how to accurately gauge the value of lives saved and associated reduced health care costs, the team hopes to provide policymakers and the energy industry with a road map for assessing the human health benefits of reducing energy use.
Ideally, putting a price tag on positive health outcomes related to reduced energy adds a new impetus to the existing strategies used by government and the energy industry to help consumers save energy.
Air pollution such as ozone and fine particles caused by emissions from power plants adversely affect human health.
They are known to contribute to an increased incidence of asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases in susceptible populations.