By reducing power plant pollution, energy efficiency yields health benefits, according to research by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
The ACEEE report, “Saving Energy, Saving Lives: The Health Impacts of Avoiding Power Plant Pollution with Energy Efficiency,” estimates the health and environmental benefits that would come from a nationwide 15% reduction in annual electric consumption. Power plant pollution contributes to heart attacks, respiratory conditions, asthma attacks, and premature death, the study says.
Nationwide, a 15% cut in electric consumption would result in more than six lives saved each day, up to $20 billion in avoided health harms, and nearly 30,000 fewer asthma episodes. The complexity of the electric grid, the location of power plants, wind patterns, and other factors influence where energy efficiency’s greatest health benefits would be realized.
A 15% reduction in electric demand is readily achievable, the report says.