Skip to main content

Table 5 Qualitative uncertainty characterization for demand-side management health benefits model, focusing on key model assumptions.

From: The public health benefits of insulation retrofits in existing housing in the United States

Model Component Model Assumption Likely Magnitude of Uncertainty Effect of Alternative Assumptions
Energy model Insulation retrofits viable in 63% of homes, uniformly distributed nationally small -
  Use of regression model to estimate REM/Design outputs small -
  Calibration of regression model outputs to RECS data small -
Emissions reductions All marginal power plants equally likely to be affected by change in electricity consumption medium Capacity- or availability-based allocation (↑)
  Use of AP-42 emissions data for residential fuel combustion medium -
  Constant emissions from power plants and residential fuel combustion over time medium Emissions decrease over time given regulations (↓)
  Focus on air emissions of PM, NOx, SO2 small Include other criteria pollutants, air toxics (↑)
Intake fractions Use of regression model estimates for intake fractions for power plants unknown -
  Use of regression model estimates for primary PM intake fractions for residential combustion large Apply dispersion model with more refined spatial resolution (↑)
  Use of regression model estimates for secondary PM intake fractions for residential combustion unknown -
Health evidence Use of American Cancer Society cohort evidence to estimate mortality risks from PM large Use results from Six Cities Study (↑); use only time-series evidence (↓)
  Equal toxicity of all particles large -
  Linear concentration-response function with no threshold unknown Assume threshold at PM2.5 annual NAAQS (↓)
  Inclusion of only asthma attacks, restricted activity days for morbidity medium Incorporate other morbidity outcomes (↑)
Valuation Use of VSL of $6 million for mortality large -
  Constant real price of fuel over time small -
Model framework Focus only on public health medium Include greenhouse gases, dependence on oil imports, etc. (↑)
  Focus only on emissions reductions from energy savings medium Include emissions from insulation manufacturing, occupational risks, indoor air quality, etc. (↓)
  1. Note: ↓ indicates that alternative assumption would likely reduce the net benefit estimate; ↑ indicates that alternative assumption would likely increase the net benefit estimate