Good mental and physical health can be supported by energy efficiency measures. How? By ensuring that indoor living environments have the right humidity and noise levels. Air temperatures should be both healthy and comfortable. And most importantly: the overall air quality is safe and breathable.
In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 4.2 million people die “as a result of exposure to ambient or outdoor air pollution.” Air pollution is considered as a major threat to both health and climate. Steps targeted to abate the ill effects of bad air quality have positive impacts on a community.
Aside from ambient air pollution, fuel poverty and thermal discomfort were discovered to have negative effects on mental health. Fuel poverty is defined as “when a household is unable to afford adequate energy at home, based on their present income.” It includes all types of fuel used for heating, cooking, and electricity. Health experts believe that fuel poverty, which is often connected to mental health, can be address by energy efficiency improvements. Their impact on reducing stress, anxiety and depression is positive, and combining it with strong financial support and community engagement help improve a person’s mental wellbeing.
Energy Efficiency’s Role in Fuel Poverty
International Energy Agency (IEA) member countries, such as Australia, have formulated energy efficiency policies to address fuel poverty. The results of these policies yielded positive results which benefited low and medium-income families. These policies range from social tariffs or government subsidies to support payments for a family’s fuel costs.
Families who are eligible for government programmes addressing fuel poverty, are defined as families who spend 10% of their annual income on energy bills. Sometimes, their low income is often associated with poor housing quality, which indirectly affects energy costs. In addition: fuel poverty is also associated with mental health deterioration, as it puts a strain on worrying about debt and high energy bills.
Energy efficiency measures have been effective in mitigating the negative effects of fuel poverty. Government interventions or programmes helped low-income families through free energy efficiency retrofitting programmes. Programme recipients showed health improvements – for both physical and mental wellness – and made energy cost affordable. Energy efficiency measure programmes are the best solutions to make energy bills inexpensive.
Health Benefits of Energy Efficiency in Buildings
Energy efficiency retrofits for buildings are good for their occupants, particularly among vulnerable groups. These retrofits, which includes weatherisation programmes and insulation retrofits, improve and support occupant health and safety. Some of these environmental improvements help reduce severe symptoms associated with allergies, cardiovascular conditions, and respiratory ailments. During summer months, the risks of dehydration are mitigated while lowering mortality rates in the winter months.
However, energy efficiency benefits shouldn’t be just for buildings alone – it can also be applied to offices and homes. Studies have shown that people who either work- or live-in energy-efficient buildings, homes, or offices are less likely to suffer from skin allergies, headaches related to stress and fatigue. An energy-efficient home or workplace have significant implications on worker health and mental disposition.
Investing in energy efficiency means saving money, proper energy utilisation, protecting the environment, and alleviating serious health issues. The road to Net Zero leads to a decarbonised future and healthier living conditions.
Connect with Ecosave to learn more about the full benefits of energy efficiency measures. Send us your enquiries or call us 1300 55 77 64.