Home energy efficiency and radon: An observational study

Phil Symonds*, David Rees, Zornitza Daraktchieva, Neil McColl, Jane Bradley, Ian Hamilton, Michael Davies

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Exposure to radon gas is the second leading cause of lung cancer worldwide behind smoking. Changing the energy characteristics of a dwelling can influence both its thermal and ventilative properties, which can affect indoor air quality. This study uses radon measurements made in 470 689 UK homes between 1980 and 2015, linked to dwelling information contained within the Home Energy Efficiency Database (HEED). The linked dataset, the largest of its kind, was used to analyze the association of housing and energy performance characteristics with indoor radon concentrations in the UK. The findings show that energy efficiency measures that increase the airtightness of properties are observed to have an adverse association with indoor radon levels. Homes with double glazing installed had radon measurements with a significantly higher geometric mean, 67% (95% CI: 44, 89) greater than those without a recorded fabric retrofit. Those with loft insulation (47%, 95% CI: 26, 69) and wall insulation (32%, 95% CI: 11, 53) were also found to have higher radon readings. Improving the energy performance of the UK's housing stock is vital in meeting carbon emission reduction targets. However, compromising indoor air quality must be avoided through careful assessment and implementation practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)854-864
Number of pages11
JournalIndoor Air
Volume29
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards at Public Health England for providing us with the radon data and their involvement in matching the data to HEED and interpreting the results. The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust for the “Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health” (CUSSH) project [award codes 205207/Z/16/Z and 209387/Z/17/Z] and the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) [HPRU‐2012‐10016] 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. It was also supported by the EPSRC funded Centre on Research for Energy Demand Solutions [EP/R035288/1] and the EPSRC CBES Platform Grant [EP/P022405/1]. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, and the Department of Health and Social Care or Public Health England.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards at Public Health England for providing us with the radon data and their involvement in matching the data to HEED and interpreting the results. The research was funded by the Wellcome Trust for the ?Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health? (CUSSH) project [award codes 205207/Z/16/Z and 209387/Z/17/Z] and the National Institute for Health Research Health Protection Research Unit (NIHR HPRU) [HPRU-2012-10016] 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. It was also supported by the EPSRC funded Centre on Research for Energy Demand Solutions [EP/R035288/1] and the EPSRC CBES Platform Grant [EP/P022405/1]. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, and the Department of Health and Social Care or Public Health England.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Authors. Indoor Air published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Keywords

  • big UK dataset
  • home energy efficiency
  • indoor air quality
  • longitudinal study
  • radon
  • ventilation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Home energy efficiency and radon: An observational study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this