MA Low-Income Single-Family Health and Safety Non-Energy Impacts Study
In 2011, evaluators in Massachusetts conducted a study of non-energy impacts (NEIs) attributable to the Massachusetts Program Administrators’ (PAs’) residential and low income (LI) programs that examined a number of health and safety-related benefits to LI residents. In 2015, an evaluation of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) was completed that included the assessment and monetization of twelve health and household-related impacts attributable to the weatherization of income-eligible single-family (SF) homes, at a national level. In order to complement Massachusetts evaluator’s findings, the MA PAs contracted with DOE study research staff to assess and monetize a sub-set of these NEIs experienced by recipients of energy efficiency services residing in income eligible households in MA. The subset of eight NEIs was selected based on their estimable, direct impact on the household, which was of most interest to the PAs; whereas, the remaining four estimated only societal impacts (i.e., reduced need for food assistance, improvement in prescription adherence, increased productivity at work due to improved sleep, reduction in low-birth weight babies from heat or eat dilemma).
The study presents the annual estimated values of the monetized NEIs selected for the MA LI SF NEI study, per weatherized unit—for both societal and household benefit categories. The overall valuation results are driven quite strongly by the assertion that the program is saving lives; however, given the uncertainty surrounding the estimate of the number of deaths avoided, the household cost savings have been presented both with and without the avoided death benefit. The main contributors to estimates presented are: avoided deaths from thermal stress, CO poisoning, and home fires; avoided hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits related to these three areas as well as asthma-related symptoms; and disposable income gains from fewer missed days at work. The study presents the Present Value for the estimates presented and provides a breakdown of the avoided number of deaths, if any, and hospitalizations, ED visits, and physician office visits annually for each health-related NEI, per 1,000 units weatherized.