YCC: What similarities do you see between energy-efficiency efforts and the environmental health program you provide?
Kennedy: The work the energy-efficiency industry does on homes is specifically improving the indoor environment of the home. It makes significant changes in how air flows and circulates through the house: where that air comes from and the quality of that air.
And we know that when a house is weatherized, when it's properly air-sealed and properly insulated, that significantly improves the comfort. It makes the indoor air temperature and humidity of the house easier to manage, eliminates temperature extremes. And the more comfortable people are in an indoor environment, the healthier they are, and there's certainly research to show that.
And then doing the insulation, the air sealing, gives anyone, any homeowner, better control of where the air in the house comes from. How much of that air passes through a filter? How much of that is circulated and evenly distributed through the house? I mean, that's really the goal is to improve the entire indoor environment of the home. So there's a lot of overlap.
YCC: Are people from the two disciplines beginning to work together?
Kennedy: I've been an advocate and a champion for the importance of integrating healthy home work into energy-efficiency work. And I've been one of the leaders in helping develop new credentials and new certificates for energy efficiency folks [through the Building Performance Institute]. So we've been real advocates for getting that workforce trained to integrate healthy homes into their work.
So we've been involved for quite a while in trying to advocate that the people who do energy-efficiency work understand that the work they do has that kind of an impact on the indoor environment.