Save light to save life- new UW–Madison study

We are familiar with how turning off lights and purchasing energy-saving appliances affects our finances. According to new research by researchers of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, we establish that cutting back on energy also saves lives and results in more money for customers by lessening the expenses of unfavorable health effects credited to air pollution.

A team led by David Abel (UW–Madison postdoctoral researcher) tabulates both the lives saved and the material advantages to consumers of enhanced health outcomes.

“By saving electricity, we can also save lives,” Abel says. “There is a range of health benefits. It’s a bonus. We find there are extra health reasons to turn off a light.”

Abel, along with colleagues (including famous writer Tracey Holloway) arranged a suite of three extensively used models to compute power plant emissions, air worth and human mortality over a period of three months (summer), as energy use is high. Their results show that a 12% rise in energy efficiency would decrease the contact with air pollution, especially ozone and very small particulate matter. Hence cleansed air would save 475 lives per annum in the US.

These savings transform to about 5 cents per kilowatt hour of energy utilized. That is very profitable considering that electricity costs approximately 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

“We’re trying to clarify how changes in energy systems have benefits for public health,” Holloway states, (UW–Madison professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences). “For the most part, the energy community is not focused on the human health effects of air pollution.”

In presenting these savings and how they precisely determine the number of lives saved, the UW team anticipates giving policymakers and the energy industry, a map for evaluating the human health benefits of lessening energy use.

Air pollution, significantly ozone and the fine molecules resulted from the secretion of power plants negatively affects human health. They add to a greater risk of asthma attacks and other respiratory diseases.

According to Abel and Holloway, an understood objective of their study is to aid in building bridges between researchers and lawmakers. People, whose focal point is air pollution and those whose focus is on energy, work in very different worlds. Locating mutual threads and supplying tools to put together those different worlds will save costs, better human health, and prepare government and industry to meet the affirmed air quality goals.