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What's the Value of One Life Saved

March/April 2007
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2007 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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March 09, 2007
Training in the whole-house approach to home performance gives contractors the ability to save lives as well as energy.
On a chilly morning in early November last year, Pete Foster arrived at the home of Hella Baer on Long Island, New York, to perform an energy evaluation of her home and to provide her with recommended upgrades. When Foster entered Ms. Baer’s house, the level indicator on his CO detector immediately began to rise.  It reached 18 ppm in the living room. Foster is certified as a Building Analyst by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national nonprofit organization that provides professional credentialing for organizations and individuals in the home performance industry. Current BPI standards state, “Diagnostic evaluations and inspections must be aborted if ambient CO concentrations greater than 35 ppm are recorded.” Though CO levels at this point were not above 35 ppm, Foster was still concerned. Carbon monoxide can cause nausea, headaches, and dizziness even at levels below 10 ppm.

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