Improving household energy efficiency levels (through draft proofing, insulation, double glazing and improved heating) can reduce the impact of cold homes on health. This is important because we know that living in poorly heated and insulated homes increases the risk of a range of conditions including cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
Few studies have assessed the potential long-term impact of historic efficiency improvements on hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory symptoms. Research by the University of Exeter Medical School (in collaboration with their partners), funded by Eaga Charitable Trust, used household energy efficiency and hospital admissions data across the UK to explore this further.
Their report provides a description of some very interesting, thought-provoking and, and in some respects, unexpected findings. Importantly, the authors highlight a number of limitations associated with this study and the complexity in modelling how improvements such as insulation, glazing and heating influences residents’ health.