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Article

Use of Simple Telemetry to Reduce the Health Impacts of Fuel Poverty and Living in Cold Homes

1
Numeration Systems, Ltd., Health and Well-Being Innovation Centre, Truro TR1 3FF, UK
2
Community Energy Plus, Truro TR1 2SJ, UK
3
Health and Well-being and Public Health, Cornwall Council, Truro TR1 3AY, UK
4
European Centre for Environment and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School, Truro TR1 3HD, UK
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(16), 2853; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162853
Received: 19 June 2019 / Revised: 31 July 2019 / Accepted: 4 August 2019 / Published: 9 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing and Health)
Introduction: In Great Britain, roughly half of people with at least one long-standing illness (LSI) live in low-income households. Lower-income households are at risk of fuel poverty and living in a colder house, which can worsen certain health conditions, causing related morbidity and mortality. This pilot study aimed to assess whether raising occupants’ awareness of indoor temperatures in the home could initiate improved health and well-being among such vulnerable residents. Methods: Thermometers were placed inside a manufactured bamboo brooch to be worn or placed within homes during the winter of 2016/17. These devices were supplied to households (n = 34) already assisted by Community Energy Plus, which is a private social enterprise in Cornwall, United Kingdom (UK), using initiatives aimed at maintaining “healthy homes”. Questionnaires were supplied to households before devices were supplied, and then again at the end of a three-month period, with further questions asked when devices were collected. Temperatures were recorded automatically every half-hour and used to draw inference from questionnaire responses, particularly around health and well-being. Results: Questionnaires were completed by 22 households. Throughout the winter, those declaring the poorest health when supplied with devices maintained homes at a higher average temperature. There were also indications that those with raised awareness of interior temperatures sought fewer casual medicines. Conclusion: Simple telemetry could play a role in the management of chronic health conditions in winter, helping healthcare systems become more sustainable. The need for higher indoor temperatures among people with an LSI highlights the need to consider this approach alongside more sustainable household energy-efficiency improvements. A larger study is needed to explore this further and quantify the cost benefit of this approach. View Full-Text
Keywords: fuel poverty; intervention; indoor temperature; public health fuel poverty; intervention; indoor temperature; public health
MDPI and ACS Style

Pollard, A.; Jones, T.; Sherratt, S.; Sharpe, R.A. Use of Simple Telemetry to Reduce the Health Impacts of Fuel Poverty and Living in Cold Homes. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 2853. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162853

AMA Style

Pollard A, Jones T, Sherratt S, Sharpe RA. Use of Simple Telemetry to Reduce the Health Impacts of Fuel Poverty and Living in Cold Homes. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2019; 16(16):2853. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162853

Chicago/Turabian Style

Pollard, Adam; Jones, Tim; Sherratt, Stephen; Sharpe, Richard A. 2019. "Use of Simple Telemetry to Reduce the Health Impacts of Fuel Poverty and Living in Cold Homes" Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 16, no. 16: 2853. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16162853

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