The Energy Efficiency Sector Can Help Address Longstanding Health Inequities

The American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has been taking a close look at the health defcit between Black, brown, and Native American peoples, compared to white Amercians. As advocates of energy efficiency, it is a short step to extend our reach to include making homes healthier and safer to live in, as well as more energy and water-efficient. Numerous Healthy Homes programs are addressing the need for healthy homes. But in the midst of a world-wide pandemic and economic crisis, we are in a unique position to help those who are most vulnerable to pandemics, other respiratory illnesses, and economic stress. We are all connected, breathe the same air, and experience illness. Our global and national health depends on everyone having the best chance to live in a healthy and safe home, and to have economic opportunity. 

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Sara Hayes, Program Manager, Health and Environment, ACEEE, recently reported on the problem of housing inequity:

The COVID-19 pandemic underscores how living conditions can adversely affect communities of color and how energy efficiency programs can help by improving these conditions.

People of color have been disproportionately killed by COVID-19. One study shows that Black Americans are 3.6 times more likely to die from it than white Americans, and Latinx individuals are at least 1.9 times as likely to die compared to whites. Counties in the United States with a Black majority have six times the rate of COVID-19 deaths relative to counties with a white majority.

African Americans have long experienced higher death rates than whites for a long list of deadly harms: heart disease, stroke, cancer, asthma, influenza and pneumonia, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and homicide. The health inequities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic emphasize the urgent need to rectify the underlying conditions, known as the social determinants of health, that threaten communities of color. Perhaps surprisingly, social and economic factors — as well as physical environment — have a far stronger impact than medical care on health outcomes, including length and quality of life...

To continue reading the blog post, visit: https://www2.aceee.org/e/310911/longstanding-health-inequities/rsjd1x/605140007?h=Srr4ffFkOUDh4D5VhrjwLp-shkp3hgpfDHV09mgXkNQ

Media Contact(s):
Ben Somberg, (202) 507-4043
Maxine Chikumbo, (202) 507-4292

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