Many studies have examined the correlation between fuel  poverty and health impacts, due to the lowering of living standards, below what is considered to be acceptable(1). Dampness, moisture and mould, which are usually present in fuel poor households, have severe health impacts. Asthma is the most common chronic disease in childhood and thus of major public health importance. According to the World Health Organization (3), indoor mould exposure is responsible for 12% of new childhood asthma in Europe, whilst 15% is caused by indoor dampness (3). Moreover, it has been proven that fuel poverty can affect mental wellbeing and social contact (1, 4), as well as the development of children (13).

Tackling fuel poverty


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In 2013 across the EU 10.8 % of the total population (equating to 50 million people) and 24.1 % of people with low incomes were unable to keep their home adequately warm (1). As indicators of fuel poverty, these numbers reveal the severity of the problem at EU level. In order to tackle fuel poverty it is vital to put in place sustainable and effective policies that shift national budget from income support schemes and fuel subsidies to more active and effective home renovation measures (1). In this short article we investigate energy efficiency measures through refurbishment as a method of improving health and wellbeing and look at some of the schemes the UK has implemented in recent years. In the UK, according to the first official definition (1991), which is still unofficially used in other countries, fuel poor people are considered to be those who “need to spend more than 10 % of their income on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth” (1, 2). Fuel poverty is caused by three main factors (1):

  • Low household income
  • High cost of energy
  • Poor energy efficiency of the house.

Any increase in fuel prices would mean that a higher share of the household’s income would have to be allocated to energy  costs to maintain a standard level of warmth in the house. Therefore, if fuel prices rise, the average income should increase proportionally in order to keep the household out of fuel poverty. However, in Europe since 2007 electricity and gas prices have significantly increased while incomes have not grown in the same pace (1). Read more

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In healthcare facilities, a properly-designed visual environment, with the appropriate use of colour and lighting, will have important benefits.  Studies have shown improved patient recovery rates and this in turn boosts overall hospital productivity and staff retention.

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In healthcare facilities, a properly-designed visual environment, with the appropriate use of colour and lighting, will have important benefits.  Studies have shown improved patient recovery rates and this in turn boosts overall hospital productivity and staff retention.