Energy efficiency improvement (EEI) actions can help to reduce energy consumption and improve air quality. Our energy systems mainly rely on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel combustion is not only the principal cause of climate change, but also of air pollution. Fossil fuels are burned for the production of space heat energy, for hot water provision, as fuel for transportation and for electricity production. As a result, not only greenhouse gases, but also air pollutants are emitted that alter air quality. Urban areas suffer the most due to concentration of fossil fuel-burning activities; however, rural areas are also affected due to atmospheric transport of air pollutants.
Human health effects arise as a result of short and long-term exposures to various pollutants, and take the form of respiratory, cardiovascular diseases, negative prenatal and developmental outcomes. Ecosystem effects relate mainly to the deposition of acidifying, eutrophying air pollutants and to the exposure to ground-level ozone. Their effects include reduced agricultural harvests, inhibited functioning and restrained growth of natural ecosystems, disturbance in the ecological balance of water ecosystems. Some building materials are also susceptible to acidifying pollutants that erode building structures.
Effects of avoided air pollution on human health, ecosystems and the built environment will be estimated and monetized.