Bedford Warm Homes scheme improves health and reduces carbon emissions

Bedford Warm Homes scheme improves health and reduces carbon emissions image

Home » Bedford Warm Homes scheme improves health and reduces carbon emissions

53 households with residents who have a chronic health condition in Bedford Borough have benefited from a local scheme to enhance their domestic fuel efficiency, which will not only improve their health but could also reduce their estimated lifetime carbon emissions by the equivalent of driving over three million miles.

A further 320 households also received expert, impartial advice to help improve the energy efficiency of their homes and save them money.

The Bedford Borough Warm Homes project – funded by Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, commissioned by Bedford Borough Council and run by the National Energy Foundation’s warmth and wellbeing service Better Housing Better Health – was designed to reduce health inequalities in the borough.

Over 1,600 patients were invited to take part, because GP records showed that they could be at risk of fuel poverty and they had a chronic health condition which could be made worse by living in a cold or damp home.  An additional intended benefit of the scheme was a reduction in carbon emissions.

Residents who met the eligibility criteria were offered home improvements which could make their homes warmer and/or less damp – with an average cost of £2,500.  The main products installed were replacement gas boilers, thermostatic heating controls and loft insulation.

Ian Brown, population health management lead for Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Health and Care Partnership and chief officer for public health at Bedford Borough Council, said:

“Participants in the Warm Homes programme were positive about their experience, with many stating that they now felt warmer in their homes, less worried about paying energy costs, and that their home now had a less negative impact on their health.

“We know that most of the participating householders were aged over 50, and that a majority had visited their GP in the previous six months because of a chronic health condition of the type which could be made worse by living in a cold or damp home.  In fact, three quarters of the residents felt that their property had a negative effect on the health of someone in their home.

“The evaluation of the scheme is ongoing but we expect the NHS will make savings against the total project cost of £358,000, through reduced attendances at general practice and A&E.  We had a number of residents whose chronic asthma was exacerbated by their cold or damp home, so I expect them to see improvements in their health and need fewer appointments as a result.”

“One of the aims of the Warm Homes programme was to support the council’s work in tackling climate change, by making a reduction in household carbon emissions.  We’ve estimated the lifetime carbon savings arising from installations provided to 53 households, using fuel type and the measures installed based on a standard house, and the total estimated lifetime carbon savings for the 53 households was 684,959kg.  That’s the equivalent of driving over three million miles!

“As we didn’t spend all of the money available in the scheme, Better Housing Better Health is now able to provide in-person home energy visits and bespoke support and interventions to vulnerable households within the Borough.”

Alison Vickers, operations director at the National Energy Foundation, said:

“We are continuing to deliver the Better Housing Better Health service across the East of England, including Bedford Borough, funded by the Energy Industry Voluntary Redress Scheme. This service means we can support residents with free, impartial expert advice and assess households for a variety of funding schemes and support to help improve the energy efficiency of homes and save the household money.

“If you are struggling to pay your energy bills or are worried that your home may be affecting your family’s health please call Better Housing Better Health on 0800 107 0044, calls are free from mobiles and landlines, or email [email protected].”



About the Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board

The Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board is responsible for planning the delivery of health care for a population of one million people across four diverse local authority areas – Bedford Borough, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes.

Our aim is simple. We want everyone who lives in our city, towns, villages and communities to live a longer, healthier life. Our strategic priorities are set out below.

Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes support two million jobs locally and we are one of the fastest growing economies in England, contributing £110bn to the UK economy.

We represent a diverse population, with 47% of residents in Luton coming from an ethnic minority background and while there is affluence in the more rural communities of Central Bedfordshire, some of our wards are amongst the most deprived in the country.
















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