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Health effects of home energy efficiency interventions in England: a modelling study

Hamilton, IG; Milner, J; Chalabi, Z; Das, P; Jones, B; Shrubsole, C; Davies, M; (2015) Health effects of home energy efficiency interventions in England: a modelling study. BMJ Open , 5 (4) 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007298. Green open access

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Abstract

Objective: To assess potential public health impacts of changes to indoor air quality and temperature due to energy efficiency retrofits in English dwellings to meet 2030 carbon reduction targets. Design: Health impact modelling study. Setting: England. Participants: English household population. Intervention: Three retrofit scenarios were modelled: (1) fabric and ventilation retrofits installed assuming building regulations are met. (2) As with scenario (1) but with additional ventilation for homes at risk of poor ventilation. (3) As with scenario (1) but with no additional ventilation to illustrate the potential risk of weak regulations and non-compliance. Main Outcome: Primary outcomes were changes in quality adjusted life years (QALYs) over 50 years from cardiorespiratory diseases, lung cancer, asthma and common mental disorders due to changes in indoor air pollutants, including: second-hand tobacco smoke, PM2.5 from indoor and outdoor sources, radon, mould, and indoor winter temperatures. Results: The modelling study estimates showed that scenario (1) resulted in positive effects on net mortality and morbidity of 2,241 (95% credible intervals (CI) 2,085 to 2,397) QALYs per 10,000 persons over 50 years due to improved temperatures and reduced exposure to indoor pollutants, despite an increase in exposure to outdoor–generated PM2.5. Scenario (2) resulted in a negative impact of -728 (95% CI -864 to -592) QALYs per 10,000 persons over 50 years due to an overall increase in indoor pollutant exposures. Scenario (3) resulted in -539 (95% CI -678 to -399) QALYs per 10,000 persons over 50 years due to an increase in indoor exposures despite targeting. Conclusions: If properly implemented alongside ventilation, energy efficiency retrofits in housing can improve health by reducing exposure to cold and air pollutants. Maximising the health benefits requires careful understanding of the balance of changes in pollutant exposures, highlighting the importance of ventilation to mitigate the risk of poor indoor air quality.

Type: Article
Title: Health effects of home energy efficiency interventions in England: a modelling study
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007298
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2014-007298
Additional information: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon this work, for commercial use, provided the original work is properly cited. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Bartlett School Env, Energy and Resources
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1464071
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