Home Energy Efficiency and Subjective Health in Greater London

Phil Symonds, Nanda Verschoor, Zaid Chalabi, Jonathon Taylor, Mike Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Abstract

The UK has introduced legislation that requires net-zero greenhouse gas emissions to be achieved by 2050. Improving the energy efficiency of homes is a key objective to help reach this target, and the UK government’s Clean Growth Strategy aims to get many homes up to an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) Band of C by 2035. The relationship between home energy-efficiency and occupant health and wellbeing remains an area of ongoing research. This paper explores the nexus between home energy efficiency, energy consumption and self-reported health—an indicator of the general health and wellbeing of the population. We focus on Greater London through secondary data analysis. Energy-efficiency ratings and air infiltration rates of dwellings, derived from EPCs, were aggregated and matched to local area self-reported health and energy consumption data obtained from the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) Lower Layer Super Output Area (LSOA) Atlas database. Our regression model indicates that improving the energy efficiency (SAP) rating by 10 points for a typical home may reduce household gas consumption by around 7% (95% CIs: 2%, 14%). Beta regression finds a positive, but not statistically significant association between median SAP rating and the proportion of the population reporting ‘good or very good’ health when considering all Greater London LSOAs (z score = 0.60, p value = 0.55). A statistically significant positive association is observed however when repeating the analysis for the lowest income quartile LSOAs (z score = 2.03, p value = 0.04). This indicates that the least well-off may benefit most from home energy efficiency programs. A statistically significant positive association is also observed for the relationship between self-reported health and air infiltration rates (z score = 2.62, p value = 0.01). The findings support existing evidence for the predominantly naturally ventilated UK housing stock, suggesting that home energy efficiency measures provide a co-benefit for occupant health provided that adequate air exchange is maintained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)362–374
JournalJOURNAL OF URBAN HEALTH: BULLETIN OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF MEDICINE
Volume98
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1

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