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Economics of Climate Resilience: Housing

Executive summary

A changing climate is projected to bring a gradual increase in mean summer temperature in the UK. In addition, the frequency and intensity of heat waves could increase in future, particularly in southern parts of England. As a result, heat-related death and morbidity costs could increase significantly in the future. The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) estimated that such costs could potentially increase from the current level by around£84m-£183m (in 2010 prices) per year by 2050 (Hames and Vardoulakis, 2012). In response to these issues, policy leads across government set the following question to be addressed in this report: “Given projected climate change and likely adaptation, what is the case for further action in relation to the heat impacts on people in residential buildings?”

We have been asked by Defra to focus on four important areas:

  • Potential future take up and use of cooling systems;
  • The energy and carbon emissions impacts of using cooling systems;
  • Alternative methods of avoiding overheating impacts; and,
  • Overheating impacts on those not taking up cooling.

This report should be read alongside the ECR report on Health and Wellbeing which contains additional information on overheating impacts on vulnerable people (particularly the elderly).

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