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Network for Comfort and Energy Use in Buildings Research

[[nceub:research:projectprofile4|Project Profile 4]]

Title of research The impact of fuel poverty on health: Contributing to the evidence base
Brief outline This project seeks to contribute to developing the evidence base for policies concerning fuel poverty and health. Low-income households living in energy inefficient housing cannot afford sufficient heating for comfort and health. These are frequently older people, who are also most susceptible to ill-effects of low temperatures. Conventionally, excess winter deaths are used as a health indicator associated with older fuel poor households. These numbers constitute a considerable public health burden, related to winter severity. Evidence of association with low indoor temperatures is limited, but mortality statistics represent only a small proportion of the scale of morbidity (or disease) probably due to cold housing. The award-holder has previously developed a methodology that appears to indicate a relationship between fuel poverty and cold-related morbidity among older people. This was based on housing, health and population data that is mostly routinely collected.
The research will explore the potential of the methodology to predict excess winter morbidity through detailed statistical analysis of the existing bank of datasets for one London borough, with additional weather data. It will examine the implications for proposing a research programme towards developing a health impact assessment tool for energy efficiency investment in homes at risk of fuel poverty.
Researchers / Institutions Janet Rudge (Principal Investigator), Robert Gilchrist and Eileen O'Keefe:
London Metropolitan University
Main funders ESRC
Start / Completion dates September 2005 / February 2007
Status Project completed
Keywords Energy efficiency, health, older people, cold, housing
Related publications Rudge J and Gilchrist R (2005) Excess winter morbidity among older people at risk of cold homes: a population-based study in a London borough. Journal of Public Health. http://jpubhealth.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/fdi051?ijkey=v7ww0zjfg7tp2g8&keytype=ref vol 27, no.4: 353-358 (link to journal abstract)
rudge j and gilchrist r (2007) measuring the health impact of temperatures in dwellings: investigating excess winter morbidity and cold homes in the london borough of newham. energy and buildings. volume 39, issue 7, july, pages 847-858. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.enbuild.2007.02.007
Contact details Janet Rudge: j.rudge@londonmet.ac.uk
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