Is Improving Indoor Air Quality a Greater Benefit than Energy Efficiency?
In the home performance industry, we frequently tout the many benefits of retrofitting work: lower energy bills, a more comfortable home, improved building durability, a reduced environmental impact and better indoor air quality. But energy efficiency - and lower energy bills - still typically lead the pack.
That seems to make sense. After all, people like saving money, and energy efficiency and reduced heating and cooling bills seem to be the most compelling case for home performance retrofits. Money is a motivator.
New Zealand Study Says...
However, a new study that looks at data from a New Zealand weatherization program suggests that improving indoor air quality may be an even more compelling reason to invest in home performance.
This report from EECA (pdf) details the results of "Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart Programme," a government program started in 2009 primarily to combat high energy bills and energy waste. The 4 year program used standard home performance and weatherization upgrades including floor and attic insulation, energy efficient heating & cooling equipment and other standard measures.
Health benefits of retrofitted homes include:
- Hospital admissions for respiratory problems dropped by 43%
- Days off school reduced by 23%
- Days off work drop 39%
And there's more.
Well, those numbers are pretty staggering, and beg the question: are the health benefits from improved indoor air quality a more compelling case for home performance upgrades than efficiency and energy savings?
It's hard to answer this question quantitatively, but it is possible to objectively state that home performance upgrades tend to have a beneficial health impact, particularly for building occupants suffering from asthma and other respiratory problems. This alone is a compelling reason to invest in home performance, energy savings aside.
Of course, folks in the industry have been saying this for years. It's nothing new. But we do believe that indoor air quality tends to fall by the wayside when it comes to marketing home performance services, and that's something that ought to change.
What You Can Do:
Make sure that you include the health benefits that home performance provides when marketing your services. You don't need to replace language about energy savings and environental benefits, but indoor air quality deserves a spot right alongside them.
Here are a few ideas for making sure that your existing and potential customers know about the health impact of home performance:
- Create a page on your website dedicated to indoor air quality, asthma, allergies, and home health.
- Write a blog post.
- Promote these pages on social media.
- Send a newsletter dedicated to indoor air quality, asthma, allergies and the health benefits of HP.
- Consider building a PPC campaign around indoor air quality and home health.
For more tips, feel free to give us a shout. As always, we'd be happy to chat.