The link between poorly heated homes and human health is stark: it is estimated that 25,000 people die each year in the UK as a result of living in cold temperatures. Cold homes can trigger respiratory and cardiovascular diseases and have been linked to mental health issues. Residents living in temperatures above 21 degrees are 50% less likely to suffer from depression than those living in environments below 15 degrees. Worryingly, it has been estimated by the WHO that exposure to damp and mould in the home can increase the chance of depression by 60%.
The good news is that simple measures can be undertaken in order to reduce the health implications of energy inefficient homes. In fact, there are many projects that have had huge successes in improving energy efficiency through community led retrofit.
In 2010, Salix Homes retrofitted properties in the Barracks Estate, Salford, in a programme designed to improve energy efficiency. Houses were fitted with double glazing, efficient boilers and loft insulation under the scheme. Comfort levels after retrofit increased from 3.5 to 5.5 on average (on a scale of 1-7, where 1 is uncomfortable and 7 is comfortable) and it was reported that residents felt happier and healthier. A reduction in mould (60% of participants reporting an improvement) is also likely to decrease respiratory problems such as asthma.
At SmartKlub we believe that energy projects have a case for social good and that simple measures can significantly improve the health and wellbeing of residents. We would love you to join the discussion! Do you know of successful programmes that clearly show the benefits of energy retrofit?
To read more about the Salix Homes project visit:
SmartKlub is publishing a series of blogs on the benefits of community-led energy efficiency programmes. Read about an inspiring case study in Nottingham and find out more about our work with the UKGBC’s task group.