Estimating the influence of housing energy efficiency and overheating adaptations on heat-related mortality in the West Midlands, UK

Jonathon Taylor*, Phil Symonds, Paul Wilkinson, Clare Heaviside, Helen Macintyre, Michael Davies, Anna Mavrogianni, Emma Hutchinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Mortality rates rise during hot weather in England, and projected future increases in heatwave frequency and intensity require the development of heat protection measures such as the adaptation of housing to reduce indoor overheating. We apply a combined building physics and health model to dwellings in theWest Midlands, UK, using an English Housing Survey (EHS)-derived stock model. Regional temperature exposures, heat-related mortality risk, and space heating energy consumption were estimated for 2030s, 2050s, and 2080s medium emissions climates prior to and following heat mitigating, energy-efficiency, and occupant behaviour adaptations. Risk variation across adaptations, dwellings, and occupant types were assessed. Indoor temperatures were greatest in converted flats, while heat mortality rates were highest in bungalows due to the occupant age profiles. Full energy efficiency retrofit reduced regional domestic space heating energy use by 26% but increased summertime heat mortality 3-4%, while reduced façade absorptance decreased heat mortality 12-15% but increased energy consumption by 4%. External shutters provided the largest reduction in heat mortality (37-43%), while closed windows caused a large increase in risk (29-64%). Ensuring adequate post-retrofit ventilation, targeted installation of shutters, and ensuring operable windows in dwellings with heat-vulnerable occupants may save energy and significantly reduce heat-related mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number190
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: The research was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) in Environmental Change and Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in partnership with Public Health England (PHE), and in collaboration with the University of Exeter, University College London, and the Met Office. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the Department of Health or Public Health England.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors.


  • Adaptation
  • Dwellings
  • Heat
  • Indoor temperature
  • Mortality


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