Several new research projects at The University of Manchester’s Urban Institute have shown how improvements in the efficiency of household energy use can result in benefits for human health and well-being, economic productivity, environmental quality and urban development. The recently-completed COMBI project (‘Calculating and Operationalising the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency in Europe’, funded by Horizon 2020) has shown that energy efficiency improvements in homes in the EU could avoid up to 27500 premature deaths from indoor cold between now and 2030. The economic value of these changes could be up to €2.5 billion due to premature mortality from indoor cold, and up to €2.9 billion due to asthma morbidity from indoor dampness. The complementary EVALUATE project (‘Energy Vulnerability and Urban Transitions in Europe’, funded by the European Research Council) found that energy efficiency is a key factor in determining levels of thermal comfort. The project identified warm weather space cooling as a significant challenge across the Global North, in light of climate change pressures. The project recommended the establishment of a minimum standard for housing across Europe, and the banning of disconnections for consumers – such measures are clear win-win solutions in the case of fuel poverty. Given the major social and geographical differences in the incidence of fuel poverty across Europe, the project argued that many policies are best delivered at the regional level.
University of Manchester 1st Aug 2018 read more »