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Adapting an English methodology to assess health cost benefits of upgrading energy inefficient French dwellings

Panel: 8. Monitoring and evaluation: building confidence and enhancing practices

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Veronique Ezratty, Service des Etudes Médicales d’EDF
, France
David Ormandy, University of Warwick, United Kingdom
Marie-Helene Laurent, R&D EDF, France
Anne Duburcq, Cemka-Eval, France
Carole Lenchi, R&D EDF, France
Laurene Courouve, Cemka-Eval, France
Fabienne Boutiere, R&D EDF, France
Pierre-Andre Cabanes, Service des Medicales d'EDF, France
Jacques Lambrozo, Service des Medicales d'EDF, France


There is a growing bank of evidence on the health and well-being gains from alleviating energy inefficiency in housing. The gains are strongest for vulnerable groups such as those on low income, and, in particular, the elderly, children and those with existing respiratory illness. To date, the health costs attributable to energy inefficiency and energy precariousness have not been calculated in France where more than 5 million households (12.5 million people) are estimated to be energy vulnerable. However, the health costs associated with energy inefficient dwellings have been estimated in England based on the Housing Health & Safety Rating System (HHSRS) a health-based risk assessment system, incorporated into English law in 2006, and unique in Europe.

Our objective was to adapt the English methodology based on the HHSRS to provide a means to estimate the health costs associated with energy inefficient dwellings and energy vulnerability in France, and then compare this with cost benefits of thermal improvement.

Adapting this methodology, and focusing on energy inefficiency and vulnerability involved the following steps –

1. Using an energy efficiency indicator inspired from the UK Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) to determine the number of energy inefficient dwellings where the risk to health could be deemed totally unacceptable.

2. Relating the energy inefficient dwellings to the probability of exposure to low indoor temperatures and an occurrence resulting in negative health outcomes to residents, making it possible to estimate the cost to the health sector associated with such exposure.

3. Comparing the cost to the health sector with the cost of works to upgrade energy efficiency to an acceptable level.

This paper shows that it is feasible to adapt an English methodology to enable the health costs of French energy inefficient housing to be calculated, and compared with the cost benefits of improving that housing.


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