Fuel poverty causes misery and ill-health – and alleviating fuel poverty by retrofitting homes could potentially offer valuable savings to the health services. However, different approaches to retrofit are likely to have different impacts on health.
The first in this two-part series, published in Green Building in December 2014, looks at how cold, damp homes can harm people’s heath, and at the evidence to date that retrofit can improve matters. It also explores some pioneering efforts by concerned health organisations to tackle the ill health of their vulnerable patients where it starts – by fixing their cold homes.
The second part, due to be published in Spring 2015, will look a little more closely at different retrofit strategies, and the risks and benefits to occupants – and to the buildings themselves.
Most people spend 80 – 90% of their time indoors, which means the indoor environment is where people meet many of the influences that affect their health and wellbeing, for good or ill. The impact is serious: just one condition affected by the indoor environment, asthma, kills three people a day and costs the country millions of pounds annually.
We all want the buildings we create and occupy to be healthy, and the sustainable building world often makes special claims to be creating healthy spaces. But are we directing our attention the right way? Which hazards are most important – and which can we actually do anything about?
In this article for the Spring 2014 issue of Green Building magazine, I have a look at the indoor hazards that might affect out health, and consider which ones we can do anything about – and how they might be tackled.