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E-M:/ Save Energy in Buildings, Improve Health and Satisfaction

Many people know that dialing the thermostat down in the winter and dialing it up in the summer saves money (+/-3% savings for each degree) and cuts green house gasses and pollution. Now, we can add improved health and satisfaction to this list. In a study released today: 


Berkeley Lab Analysis Finds Reduced Cooling and Heating May Improve Health


(Snips) Furthermore, in summer, a variety of building-related symptoms such as headache, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating were increased by over 50 percent in the buildings kept below 73.4°F (23°C). These buildings, kept too cold for comfort in summer, included almost half the buildings measured in summer. These symptoms thus might be expected to decrease if buildings were air-conditioned less and kept warmer in the summer.


In winter, buildings with higher indoor temperatures (above 73.4°F, even though that is near the middle of the recommended temperature range) were associated with approximately 30 to 80 percent increases in building-related nose, eye, and skin symptoms and also headache. This included more than half the buildings measured in winter. These symptoms thus might decrease if buildings were kept cooler in the winter.


“As we look for ways to save energy, these results suggest a potential win-win situation,” says Mendell. “Our findings suggest that energy efficiency and keeping buildings healthy and comfortable for the occupants are not necessarily in conflict. Less summer cooling in air-conditioned buildings and less winter heating in heated buildings might reduce energy use in buildings substantially, yet have health benefits for the occupants that we did not expect, and still keep occupants as comfortable as before or even more comfortable.”


Take care, frank