A simulation model of building intervention impacts on indoor environmental quality, pediatric asthma, and costs
ABSTRACT Although indoor environmental conditions can affect pediatric asthmatic patients, few studies have characterized the effect of building interventions on asthma-related outcomes. Simulation models can evaluate such complex systems but have not been applied in this context.
We sought to evaluate the impact of building interventions on indoor environmental quality and pediatric asthma health care use, and to conduct cost comparisons between intervention and health care costs and energy savings.
We applied our previously developed discrete event simulation model (DEM) to simulate the effect of environmental factors, medication compliance, seasonality, and medical history on (1) pollutant concentrations indoors and (2) asthma outcomes in low-income multifamily housing. We estimated health care use and costs at baseline and subsequent to interventions, and then compared health care costs with energy savings and intervention costs.
Interventions, such as integrated pest management and repairing kitchen exhaust fans, led to 7% to 12% reductions in serious asthma events with 1- to 3-year payback periods. Weatherization efforts targeted solely toward tightening a building envelope led to 20% more serious asthma events, but bundling with repairing kitchen exhaust fans and eliminating indoor sources (eg, gas stoves or smokers) mitigated this effect.
Our pediatric asthma model provides a tool to prioritize individual and bundled building interventions based on their effects on health and costs, highlighting the tradeoffs between weatherization, indoor air quality, and health. Our work bridges the gap between clinical and environmental health sciences by increasing physicians' understanding of the effect that home environmental changes can have on their patients' asthma.
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ABSTRACT: High temperatures, an extremely polluted ambient environment, alongside disparities in housing quality and household energy use, indicate overheating risk and poor indoor air quality in Delhi dwellings. In this study, we explore a range of interventions to reduce adverse temperature exposure and improve indoor air quality, focusing on PM2.5, for exemplar base case households developed to cover the range of settlements types found in Delhi. Interventions are modelled using dynamic thermal simulation, and include a range of modifications to dwelling operation and building fabric, as well as additional building components. A weighted multi-objective assessment considering annual energy use, intervention cost, and a health metric encompassing heat, cold and PM2.5 exposure, is employed to score the suitability of strategies for each settlement type. The most effective strategy is found to be a combination of changes in building fabric with evaporative cooling and cooking ventilation in all archetypes. The results demonstrate how a weighted multi-objective assessment is effective in selecting strategies for settlement types with differing priorities.Building Service Engineering 02/2015; 36(2). DOI:10.1177/0143624414566246 · 0.82 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Last year's "Advances in pediatric asthma in 2013: Coordinating asthma care" concluded that, "Enhanced communication systems will be necessary among parents, clinicians, health care providers and the pharmaceutical industry so that we continue the pathway of understanding the disease and developing new treatments that address the unmet needs of patients who are at risk for severe consequences of unchecked disease persistence or progression." This year's summary will focus on further advances in pediatric asthma related to prenatal and postnatal factors altering the natural history of asthma, assessment of asthma control, and new insights regarding the management of asthma in children as indicated in Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology publications in 2014. A major theme of this review is how new research reports can be integrated into medical communication in a population health perspective to assist clinicians in asthma management. The asthma specialist is in a unique position to convey important messages to the medical community related to factors that influence the course of asthma, methods to assess and communicate levels of control, and new targets for intervention, as well as new immunomodulators. By enhancing communication among patients, parents, primary care physicians, and specialists within provider systems, the asthma specialist can provide timely information that can help to reduce asthma morbidity and mortality. Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 01/2015; 135(3). DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2014.12.1921 · 11.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Risk factors for asthma, allergy and eczema were studied in a stratified random sample of adults in Stockholm. In 2005, 472 multifamily buildings (10,506 dwellings) were invited (one subject/dwelling) and 7,554 participated (73%). Associations were analyzed by multiple logistic regression, adjusting for gender, age, smoking, country of birth, income and years in the dwelling. In total, 11% had doctor's diagnosed asthma, 22% doctor's diagnosed allergy, 23% pollen allergy and 23% eczema. Doctor's diagnosed asthma was more common in dwellings with humid air (OR = 1.74) and mould odour (OR = 1.79). Doctor's diagnosed allergy was more common in buildings with supply exhaust air ventilation as compared to exhaust air only (OR = 1.45) and was associated with redecoration (OR = 1.48) and mould odour (OR = 2.35). Pollen allergy was less common in buildings using more energy for heating (OR = 0.75) and was associated with humid air (OR = 1.76) and mould odour (OR = 2.36). Eczema was more common in larger buildings (OR 1.07) and less common in buildings using more energy for heating (OR = 0.85) and was associated with water damage (OR = 1.47), humid air (OR = 1.73) and mould odour (OR = 2.01). Doctor's diagnosed allergy was less common in buildings with management accessibility both in the neighbourhood and in larger administrative divisions, as compared to management in the neighbourhood only (OR = 0.49; 95% CI 0.29-0.82). Pollen allergy was less common if the building maintenance was outsourced (OR = 0.67; 95% CI 0.51-0.88). Eczema was more common when management accessibility was only at the division level (OR = 1.49; 95% CI 1.06-2.11). In conclusions, asthma, allergy or eczema were more common in buildings using less energy for heating, in larger buildings and in dwellings with redecorations, mould odour, dampness and humid air. There is a need to reduce indoor chemical emissions and to control dampness. Energy saving may have consequences for allergy and eczema. More epidemiological studies are needed on building management organization.PLoS ONE 12/2014; 9(12):e112960. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0112960 · 3.53 Impact Factor