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Home energy efficiency upgrades can cut carbon pollution and help people save money on utility bills.

But for Kevin Kennedy, director of the environmental health program at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, there’s an even bigger pay-off.

“Really it’s the health benefit and the long-term outcomes for the people living in the home that in my mind matter most,” he says.

For more than 20 years, Kennedy has helped families identify and address environmental health hazards in their homes.

For example, mold, dust, and dander can trigger asthma attacks, which send about a million children in the U.S. to the emergency room each year.

He says some of the steps that can eliminate these hazards are the same steps people can take to improve their homes’ energy efficiency.

Adding insulation and sealing leaks can help reduce moisture. Improving heating and ventilation systems can decrease indoor dust and pollen.

“It makes significant changes in how air flows and circulates through the house, where that air comes from, and the quality of that air,” Kennedy says.

So he says helping families make their homes more energy efficient can reduce global warming, cut costs, and keep families safe and healthy.

Also see: How to apply for free energy-efficiency upgrades for your home and Tips: How to weatherize your home

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media