Risk Analysis

Integrating Risk Assessment and Life Cycle Assessment: A Case Study of Insulation

Journal Article

  • Author(s): Yurika Nishioka, Jonathan I. Levy, Gregory A. Norris, Andrew Wilson, Patrick Hofstetter, John D. Spengler
  • Article first published online: 02 Sep 2008
  • DOI: 10.1111/1539-6924.00266
  • Read on Online Library
  • Subscribe to Journal

Increasing residential insulation can decrease energy consumption and provide public health benefits, given changes in emissions from fuel combustion, but also has cost implications and ancillary risks and benefits. Risk assessment or life cycle assessment can be used to calculate the net impacts and determine whether more stringent energy codes or other conservation policies would be warranted, but few analyses have combined the critical elements of both methodologies. In this article, we present the first portion of a combined analysis, with the goal of estimating the net public health impacts of increasing residential insulation for new housing from current practice to the latest International Energy Conservation Code (IECC 2000). We model state‐by‐state residential energy savings and evaluate particulate matter less than 2.5 μm in diameter (PM2.5, NOx, and SO2 emission reductions. We use past dispersion modeling results to estimate reductions in exposure, and we apply concentration‐response functions for premature mortality and selected morbidity outcomes using current epidemiological knowledge of effects of PM2.5 (primary and secondary). We find that an insulation policy shift would save 3 × 1014 British thermal units or BTU (3 × 1017 J) over a 10‐year period, resulting in reduced emissions of 1,000 tons of PM2.5, 30,000 tons of NOx, and 40,000 tons of SO2. These emission reductions yield an estimated 60 fewer fatalities during this period, with the geographic distribution of health benefits differing from the distribution of energy savings because of differences in energy sources, population patterns, and meteorology. We discuss the methodology to be used to integrate life cycle calculations, which can ultimately yield estimates that can be compared with costs to determine the influence of external costs on benefit‐cost calculations.

Related Topics

Related Publications

Related Content

Site Footer


This website is provided by John Wiley & Sons Limited, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex PO19 8SQ (Company No: 00641132, VAT No: 376766987)

Published features on StatisticsViews.com are checked for statistical accuracy by a panel from the European Network for Business and Industrial Statistics (ENBIS)   to whom Wiley and StatisticsViews.com express their gratitude. This panel are: Ron Kenett, David Steinberg, Shirley Coleman, Irena Ograjenšek, Fabrizio Ruggeri, Rainer Göb, Philippe Castagliola, Xavier Tort-Martorell, Bart De Ketelaere, Antonio Pievatolo, Martina Vandebroek, Lance Mitchell, Gilbert Saporta, Helmut Waldl and Stelios Psarakis.