SLU Partnership Provides Insights

SLU Partnership with EnergyCare

This year, EnergyCare has teamed up with St. Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice for a yearlong project to examine ways EnergyCare services affect clients’ health.


The purpose of this project is to connect how Energy Care’s services improve the health outcomes of our clients. The health outcome of greatest interest is chronic illness in the senior population. As a part of the epidemiological assessment, a literature review was conducted on the risk factors associated with temperature related illnesses and the behavioral determinants of weatherization. Perceived vulnerability to the effects of extreme temperatures, social support, and the lack of knowledge about weatherization were major findings concerning barriers to weatherization.


Elderly females, African-Americans, and those with low income or who are unemployed were identified as populations who are most likely to require weatherization assistance. Additionally, individuals with chronic conditions– such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease – appear to be most affected by extreme temperatures. These populations were identified through social and health indicator data along with the literature review.

One financial barrier that Energy Care’s clients encounter is not being able to afford to pay their electric bill. For one client, this was due to an unexpected decrease in income when she got sick; Energy Care paid off an outstanding bill and then continued work with the energy company to arrange a plan that she can consistently afford. Additional concerns of the clients were emotional and mental barriers that hinder their well-being. This report shows that many seniors need to be supported in various ways by their community.


Energy Care: An Assessment of the Community, Determinants of Weatherization, and Recommendations by graduate students Louise Hyneman, Emmanuel Adediran, Kimberly Pryor, and Sonya Kumpuckal under the direction of SLU faculty members Dr. Nancy Weaver and Dr. Ellen Barnidge.

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Volunteers can help with weatherization of our client homes, preparation of Weatherization kits and direct mailer and lead Weatherization groups. 


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We install home weatherization materials, setup portable heaters and electric blankets, or simply give out standard blankets for immediate warmth. For the heat we install window air conditioners.