A number likely to rise with time due to an inherent delay in reporting official in some jurisdictions, heat-related fatalities far exceeded any other extreme weather-related fatalities in 2022. Sprawling urban cities are approximately 10 degrees warmer surrounding suburban or rural areas. This is caused by the density of the respective built environment holding in the area’s heat.
According to the National League of Cities, indoor temperatures in homes can be managed through the building shell, ventilation, and the effectiveness of the appliances that cool the home. Improvements to the building shell, often referred to as “weatherization,” make long-term upgrades to a home, reducing the energy needs for heating and cooling while also improving indoor air quality, moisture management, and safety. Common weatherization interventions include upgrading insulation and air sealing to prevent air leakage and installing double-paned windows. It is also important that a home is properly ventilated to ensure moisture and indoor air pollution are removed and clean air can come in.
However, to weatherize a home, existing hazards must be remediated to ensure resident safety. In many older homes, particularly in historically disinvested communities and low-income communities of color, these hazards are common and cause deferrals from weatherization programs. These hazards can include lead paint, mold, pests, foundation leaks, and roof leaks.