Energy efficiency of housing for older citizens: Does it matter? Energy Policy


•Housing quality impacts on the health and economic wellbeing of older people.
•This demographic can have limited capacity to manage and pay for thermal comfort.
•Building thermal performance is not disclosed or linked to occupants’ health care.
•Energy and health policies need to be much more closely aligned.
•This can be through building regulations, mandatory disclosure and heat wave plans.


Global population ageing has significant implications for public policy in areas such as health, housing and economic security. The notion of housing as a public health issue is not new, yet very little research has examined the links between housing specifically built for older people, energy performance and occupant health and economic security. Utilising a case study approach, this research examined the interplay between the energy efficiency of housing explicitly designed for this demographic, the thermal efficiency of their dwellings, and the impact on internal temperatures and monthly energy costs. The study shows that the thermal efficiency of the dwellings is not the same across all dwellings, impacting the internal temperatures experienced by the elderly occupants and their finances. This has implications for energy efficiency policy, policy governing the energy performance of buildings specifically designed for older people, as well as the mandatory disclosure of building performance. The study highlights in particular the need for energy policy to be further refined to link the thermal performance requirements of buildings to the broader health care plan and specific needs of older people.

SOURCE: Wendy Miller, Desley Vine and Zakaria Amin, “Energy efficiency of housing for older citizens: Does it matter?”,  Energy Policy, Volume 101, February 2017, Pages 216–224

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