Estimating changes in heat-related mortality following built environment adaptations in the West Midlands, UK
PHE ePoster Library. Macintyre H. 09/13/16; 138089; 8
Dr. Helen Macintyre
Dr. Helen Macintyre
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Abstract IntroductionExposure to high temperatures presents a mortality risk, particularly amongst the heat-vulnerable elderly, and may be influenced by housing and the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect. We assessed the potential impact on heat mortality of selected adaptation measures to housing and the UHI.MethodIndoor temperatures were estimated, using building physics models, for all dwellings in the English Housing Survey (EHS) for the West Midlands during a hot but not extreme summer, before and after various energy-efficiency improvements and external window shutter installation. Mortality risk pre and post-adaptation was estimated using an age-dependent heat-mortality risk function using indoor temperature estimates, occupant numbers and ages for the corresponding EHS dwellings, and baseline mortality rates for different age groups. Mortality changes due to the removal of the UHI were calculated using the same mortality model, by overlaying census age and population data onto maps of UHI temperatures with and without urban surfaces using Geographic Information Systems.ResultsExternal shutters were the most effective of the adaptation measures compared, with a point estimate of 81% reduction in mortality under the weather scenarios modelled. Energy-efficiency adaptations, except for roof insulation, tended to increase mortality. Reduction of the UHI, while potentially beneficial, would achieve appreciable reduction in risk only with very widespread changes to the urban environment.ConclusionThe use of shutters appears to be one of the most effective simple measures for protection against heat risk in dwellings. External funding details National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit, Environmental Change and Health.
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