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Open AccessArticle

Estimating the Influence of Housing Energy Efficiency and Overheating Adaptations on Heat-Related Mortality in the West Midlands, UK

UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, Central House, 14 Upper Woburn Place, London WC1H 0NN, UK
Department of Social and Environmental Health Research, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 15-17 Tavistock Place, London WC1H 9SH, UK
Climate Change Group, Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, Public Health England, Chilton OX11 0RQ, UK
School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Atmosphere 2018, 9(5), 190;
Received: 20 April 2018 / Revised: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 15 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health)
Mortality rates rise during hot weather in England, and projected future increases in heatwave frequency and intensity require the development of heat protection measures such as the adaptation of housing to reduce indoor overheating. We apply a combined building physics and health model to dwellings in the West Midlands, UK, using an English Housing Survey (EHS)-derived stock model. Regional temperature exposures, heat-related mortality risk, and space heating energy consumption were estimated for 2030s, 2050s, and 2080s medium emissions climates prior to and following heat mitigating, energy-efficiency, and occupant behaviour adaptations. Risk variation across adaptations, dwellings, and occupant types were assessed. Indoor temperatures were greatest in converted flats, while heat mortality rates were highest in bungalows due to the occupant age profiles. Full energy efficiency retrofit reduced regional domestic space heating energy use by 26% but increased summertime heat mortality 3–4%, while reduced façade absorptance decreased heat mortality 12–15% but increased energy consumption by 4%. External shutters provided the largest reduction in heat mortality (37–43%), while closed windows caused a large increase in risk (29–64%). Ensuring adequate post-retrofit ventilation, targeted installation of shutters, and ensuring operable windows in dwellings with heat-vulnerable occupants may save energy and significantly reduce heat-related mortality. View Full-Text
Keywords: heat; mortality; adaptation; dwellings; indoor temperature heat; mortality; adaptation; dwellings; indoor temperature
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Taylor, J.; Symonds, P.; Wilkinson, P.; Heaviside, C.; Macintyre, H.; Davies, M.; Mavrogianni, A.; Hutchinson, E. Estimating the Influence of Housing Energy Efficiency and Overheating Adaptations on Heat-Related Mortality in the West Midlands, UK. Atmosphere 2018, 9, 190.

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