1 year ago



• Research on the

• Research on the health impact of cold homes and energy poverty has also tended to focus upon discrete disciplines such as epidemiology, housing, energy efficiency and energy provision. Research often adopts a single discipline approach rather than examining the interrelationship between these factors. There has also been a tendency to ignore the role of human behaviour in keeping warm at home. Fundamental to understanding the health impact of cold homes and fuel poverty is a need to understand how various factors influence householders’ behaviour and choices in terms of risks, experiences and responses, especially those from vulnerable groups. • The lack of in-depth behavioural insight of all at risk groups. There is a lack of granularity and a tendency towards generalisations e.g. policy references to disability without breaking down and understanding different types and severity of disability. Future research needs to acknowledge that variation and examine energy poverty experience and behaviour across different groups, across the life course. • Excessive heat impacts on health are very under-researched and poorly understood. There is a corresponding gap in knowledge about summertime energy poverty issues, relating to access and affordability of air conditioning, everyday practices and coping strategies, and the flexibility of the built environment. • More generally, there is an overall lack of evidence, which in part can be attributed to the complexity of the topic, as well as the absence of appropriate data. on individual circumstances, and will vary in intensity depending on pre-existing conditions and levels of social support. Via the two case studies for Katie and Nigel we have provided some insight into the everyday lived experience for people in energy poverty and highlighted the cumulative effect of stress and anxiety. Beyond this, we have also considered some of the key challenges for understanding and addressing the impact of energy poverty on human health. On the basis of evidence and information presented, a number of policy recommendations can be made: 1. There is a need for long-term strategic planning for winter preparedness via national and regional Cold Weather Plans. See for example Public Health England (2015a; 2015b). 2. Investment in energy efficiency and housing improvements should be prioritised for energy poor households, in order to potentially realise significant reductions to public expenditure on health care, and decrease the number of preventable deaths and illnesses. 3. Greater funding should be allocated for multi-disciplinary scientific research to establish the precise interaction of cold housing and energy poverty with health and well-being, the extent to which EWM can be attributed to energy poverty, and to assess which interventions are most effective. conclusions and policy recommendations Over the course of this chapter we have identified population vulnerability to both high and low outdoor temperatures, and the existence of seasonal mortality rate increases. We have discussed the widely used EWM metric, and considered a new method for quantifying cold-related mortality. From the existing scientific literature, we have established that living in a cold home and experiencing energy poverty is associated with a broad range of physical, psychological, and social health morbidity impacts, although the precise nature of these relationships is dependent 52 HEALTH IMPACTS OF COLD HOUSING AND ENERGY POVERTY HEALTH IMPACTS OF COLD HOUSING AND ENERGY POVERTY 53

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Still cold
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