I read this Guardian article about fuel poverty and it truly saddened me.
I have often heard the term “excess winter deaths” but never really wondered or researched the cause (until now).
I never thought that it would be down to people dying from being cold. We have all said or heard the term “Freezing to death” or “You will catch your death outside” but in your own home, really?
Sadly, the answer to that question is yes. On average there are an 32,000 more deaths between the colder months of December to March and according to research by National Energy Action (NEA) and the environmental group E3G an average 9,700 deaths are believed to be caused by living in a cold house.
Affordable warmth should be available to everyone
The negative impacts of cold
Going by those figures that is the same amount of lives cut short by breast or prostate cancer, and while we do not have the ability to cure all forms of cancer we certainly have the ability and the means to ensure all people can live in warmth.
We should all be able to stay warm at home, imagine being in a situation where you have to choose between feeding your children, paying your bills or heating your home?
Being cold can prevent children from thriving, without a warm place to do their homework they can fall behind, no hot water to wash can lead to bullying and isolation.
Being cold can prevent the elderly from seeing people, too embarrassed to invite people in to their cold home, they will often stay in one room and wrap up with blankets and not move all day.
They do not have the luxury of spending time in the warmth at work and tend to move around less so they get colder more easily.
The financial cost
The impact of fuel poverty on society is significant, £1.3bn is spent each year on health services in England treating illnesses caused by cold homes… this is staggering.
Solving this crisis would save the NHS money and would lead to fewer patients taking up beds or adding to waiting times in GP’s surgeries and A&E departments.
Well there is a light (and warmth) at the end of this tunnel.
Here at Mitsubishi Electric we are serious about sustainability and as the UK strives to meet its carbon reduction targets, renewable heating systems like Ecodan air source heat pumps have been recognised as an important part of the solution.
This is why the Government is encouraging the installation of heat pumps as the low carbon alternative to gas, oil and LGP heating as part of the recently announced 10 point plan.
There’s no excuse for fuel poverty, and affordable warmth should be available to everyone.
Being warm in your home should not be seen as a luxury but as a necessity and with the growth in renewable heat pumps there literally is a suitable solution for every home.
Susan Froome, 121 Heating Account Manager