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The Health Impacts of Household Energy Efficiency Measures

Maidment, Christopher (2016) The Health Impacts of Household Energy Efficiency Measures. PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Living in a cold, damp home is harmful to physical and mental health. Household energy efficiency measures, often installed to reduce carbon emissions, should make it easier and more affordable for residents to maintain a warm, comfortable environment, thereby reducing cold-related illnesses and associated stress. However, the expected health benefits are often not seen and concerns have been raised of unplanned, detrimental effects on health. A series of studies was conducted to investigate the relationship between household energy efficiency measures and the health of residents using three different approaches. Initially, the mechanisms by which such health benefits may be achieved were investigated via continuous indoor environmental monitoring in a number of case study homes and a questionnaire-based survey of residents following a council retrofit scheme. A meta-analysis of the extant evidence then identified a positive impact from household energy efficiency measures on health. Finally, professionals involved in the planning or implementation of household energy efficiency schemes were interviewed to determine the extent to which health is considered in organisational and individual objectives. The present research contributes to the design of effective energy efficiency policies and interventions. The presence of household energy efficiency measures was found to have a positive effect on health on average, particularly for residents vulnerable to the impacts of fuel poverty due to their age, health or income. Physical and perceived changes to the home environment were identified as the key consecutive components of the mechanism for this effect. Future research that comprehensively assesses long-term health impacts alongside short-term changes in wellbeing would contribute to the promotion of household energy efficiency measures. The need was recognised, though, for a holistic, collaborative approach to address individual needs and overcome institutional barriers in order to achieve concurrent environmental, economic, social and health benefits.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Energy efficiency, health, wellbeing, housing, fuel poverty
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Science (Sheffield) > Psychology (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.700868
Depositing User: Mr Christopher Maidment
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2016 15:18
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2018 09:31
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/12922

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