National Energy Action (NEA)

Affordable HEAT/ Affordable COOL

The phenomenon of excess winter deaths has been at the forefront of the debate on fuel poverty and poor housing for many years. Conversely the debate about excess deaths from heat is a fairly new area of study which has been given added prominence in light of the Stern report and the Fourth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) which indicate that climate change is only likely to worsen in coming years. This project aims to find a viable solution to the problems faced by households whose health, comfort and well-being is unduly affected by exposure to both extremes of heat and cold.

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Registered Charity in England and Wales (290511)

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    Category

  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment
  • Environment/ConservationEnvironment/Conservation
  • Health/WellbeingHealth/Wellbeing
  • Poverty Alleviation/ReliefPoverty Alleviation/Relief

    Helping

  • Older PeopleOlder People
  • Women & GirlsWomen & Girls
  • OtherOther

Location

Situation

Whilst European countries such as France have seen unprecedented deaths (i.e. 15k+) from its most recent heatwave in 2003, the UK has largely been unaffected to this extent. However the Office for National Statistics reported a 4% increase over baseline mortality (680 excess deaths) in England and Wales between 16 and 28 July 2006 when compared with the average for the same period 2001-2005 (although this may be an underestimate). The linear relationship is such that 75 extra heat related deaths occur for every 1 degree rise in temperature each week. In keeping with the argument about excess winter deaths, excess deaths from heat are not just those people who would have died anyway in the weeks following a hot spell due to old age or illness, the evidence base indicates these are additional. The project will seek to identify and apply different technological solutions to address these problems in a selection of eligible homes. The ultimate aim of the project is to look at the cost and viability of installing appropriate measures, support householders to use them appropriately, monitor household conditions and report on the pro’s and cons of the solution as a whole. NEA sees that this project is preventative in nature and is likely to reduce the potential incidence of cold-related and/or or heat-related illness and or death thus reducing the impact on the health service throughout the year. NEA will seek to promote its findings more broadly to those overseeing heatwave planning within the NHS, local authorities, LSP health and well-being groups etc. Description of Activities • Develop a specification for the project • Engage manufacturers and source appropriate packages of technology • Engage partner agencies to identify householders at risk in nominated locations • Engage vulnerable householders and secure involvement in project • Undertake surveys of properties and identify suitability for measures • Install appropriate measures in the homes of identified individuals and provide appropriate advice and information tailored to the needs of the householder • Monitor heating, cooling and ventilation patterns over a set period and evaluate householders • Report on the outcomes of the project to the sponsor • Prepare a briefing for promotion and circulation to relevant agencies Outputs • The development of an appropriate specification for affordable heat/ affordable cool technology • The installation of packages of technology in 4 households occupied by vulnerable people • A briefing note detailing the development of the project, key considerations and practical recommendations – to be promoted broadly to relevant agencies The project is preventative in nature and will hopefully reduce the potential risk of cold-related and heat-related illness (or death) for vulnerable households. The project both seeks to meet the demands of the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy (2001) as well as the national Heat Wave Plan for England. The project has future implications for the development of Warm Front, CERT and other initiatives at a local level particularly those that are seeking to address NHS planning pressures and the emerging wellbeing agenda. The project will be monitored primarily by an analysis of temperature and humidity testing in homes as well as fuel consumption and customer satisfaction monitoring. In this way NEA hopes to show that the solution is a viable one, is affordable to use, meets the needs of the individual, can be replicated and is a financially viable solution for vulnerable households who might otherwise been prone to the ‘revolving door’ syndrome of acute admission/ discharge into the community. The total cost for this project is £73,482 to include all NEA staff time and capital and installation costs, although these costs could be reduced if fewer installations were undertaken.

Solution