It’s no surprise that household energy expenditures put a considerable burden on low- to middle-income families, and a study correlated this impact by measuring the correlation between income and morbidity due to extreme heat or cold.
The Centers for Disease Control and Protection published the results of the study that analyzed data between 2006 and 2010. The study analyzed morbidity rates due simply to extreme temperatures. They found that counties throughout the U.S. that had the highest quartile of incomes had the lowest rates of death due to excessive temperature swings.
It’s no surprise that lower income households have more difficulty managing comfort issues. Energy costs as a percentage of after-tax income for households making less than $30,000 annually climbed from 16 percent in 2001 to 23 percent in 2009. Contrast that to households with incomes over $50,000 that paid five percent of the after-tax income in 2001 and seven percent in 2009.
Low income households are also the least able to afford the home improvements that would help them save, like increasing home insulation, installing more energy efficient windows, or replacing an existing HVAC system with one that’s more efficient.
Some local jurisdictions, utility providers and even states offer incentives for which low-income households may be able to quality to help offset the cost of improvements. Many utility providers also offer tips for home energy savings. One of the primary goals of Energy Savers That Work is to help homeowners and renters alike discover ways to energy bills without making a major sacrifice in comfort.