Cold homes and energy poverty

While this paper makes some good points about fuel poverty and energy cost, they bit hook line and sinker the ridiculous recent claim of Super exponential accelerating CO2 growth and cited it as a reference – Anthony

The health impacts of cold homes and fuel poverty
National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, College of Medicine, Biology and Environment, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
  1. Keith B G Dear, senior fellow,
  2. Anthony J McMichael, professor

Three reasons to act: the health burden, inequity, and mitigation

On 12 May Michael Marmot and his team published their report, “The heath impacts of cold homes and fuel poverty,” commissioned by Friends of the Earth.1 The report highlights an obvious, well known, and largely ignored fact—that cold homes waste energy and harm their occupants—and identifies an opportunity for simultaneous gains on three fronts. By improving the thermal efficiency of British homes the government would reduce carbon dioxide (“greenhouse”) emissions, avoid a major burden of ill health, and reduce health inequity, which—as the report shows—maps closely with social and economic disadvantage. The report delivers three messages. Firstly, improving the energy efficiency of the housing stock—to spread “affordable warmth”—would bring multiple health gains, directly and through improved home finances. Secondly, fuel poverty as a result of poor housing stock causes avoidable health inequality and is unjust. Thirdly, reduced fuel use would bring environmental gains, in the short term through reduced air pollution and in the longer term in helping to mitigate climate change.

The same is true of Australia, which is perhaps often envied by inhabitants of northern Europe as a land of sand, sunshine, and seasonal tropical monsoons that bring welcome warm rains (albeit sometimes to excess). The reality is that even in the subtropical city of Brisbane (population two million) deaths as a result of extremes of winter cold are roughly equal to those attributable to extremes of summer heat.2 This fact matches the finding in Europe that “higher rates [of excess winter deaths] are found in countries with less severe, milder winter climates.”3 The explanation is that building standards have been raised in colder countries such as Finland and Sweden, but not in countries with a milder climate such as the United Kingdom. The report estimates that in the UK, about 5500 more deaths a year occur in the coldest quarter of houses than would occur if those houses were warm. Of note, this substantial burden of mortality was shown only by careful accumulation and analysis of national statistics. Might measures of housing quality be added to the international health statistics website, gapminder.org? The software at this site (created by Hans Rosling) allows graphical cross referencing of many national statistics over time, but housing quality is not currently represented among the variables available.4

Living in a cold house can affect health at any age, not just in old age, for a variety of reasons. Although the extra deaths in elderly people are caused mainly by cardiovascular and respiratory disease, far greater numbers have minor ailments that lead to a huge burden of disease, costs to the health system, and misery. Compared with those who live in a warmer house, respiratory problems are roughly doubled in children, arthritis and rheumatism increase, and mental health can be impaired at any age. As the report notes, adolescents who live in a cold house have a fivefold increased risk of multiple mental health problems.1

The Marmot report takes the same approach in reverse—an environmental benefit (reduced greenhouse emissions) will accrue from an intervention aimed primarily at protecting health. In addition to this double benefit, the social equity argument provides yet a third motivation.

We should not assume that because the planet is warming dangerously, cold temperatures will become a thing of the past. Climate scientists anticipate that warming will be accompanied by increased variability.6 Furthermore, warming will not be globally uniform. In particular, northern Europe might become much colder later this century if the meridional overturning circulation is weakened by inflows of fresh water from a melting Greenland ice sheet (the geological record shows that such things have happened before).7

The world community is struggling to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is not merely continuing to rise when it should be starting to fall, but its rise is accelerating.8

Full essay: http://www.bmj.com/content/342/bmj.d2807.full

h/t to “Manny”

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50 thoughts on “Cold homes and energy poverty

  1. In particular, northern Europe might become much colder later this century if the meridional overturning circulation is weakened by inflows of fresh water from a melting Greenland ice sheet (the geological record shows that such things have happened before).
    Does the geological record also posit a cause for these earlier outflows of fresh water? Back to the Cause-and Effect post from ealier today…(Modern warming=CO2, other warming=well, other warming.)

  2. That this report was commissioned by Friends of the Earth shows that it would be biased.

  3. that cold homes waste energy and harm their occupants

    This just highlights the absurd nature of the “global warming” scam.

    1. The government have just put up the cost of heating homes via their various carbon taxes (real taxes but deniable as taxes as they don’t figure on the government accounts)
    2. Insulation disproportionately helps the poor for whom heating costs are a greater part of their income .. so who did the labour party give their subsidies to? … the rich landowners
    3. In the UK, some 23,000 extra deaths are recorded in a normal winter, the last two bad winters that went closer to 40,000. In the single hottest year there was a massive massive increase in deaths of 2300 (two thousand three hundred). So, obviously the government have prioritised making the world colder … because that’s what the lobbyists told them would get them re-elected.
    4. Insulation is overwhelmingly undertaken by UK firms. Whereas wind turbines are almost without exception built outside the UK. So which did the government favour? UK jobs or foreign ones?
    5. etc.

  4. From the Office for National Statistics. (UK)

    “Excess winter deaths, England and Wales, 1999/2000–2009/2010

    In the winter period (December to March) of 2009/10 there were an estimated 25,400 more deaths in England and Wales, compared with the average for the non-winter period (see definition below). This was a decrease of 30 per cent compared with the number in the previous winter, but is slightly higher than the level seen in 2007/08.

    Females experience greater excess winter mortality than males: in 2009/10 there were 10,600 excess winter deaths in males and 14,800 excess winter deaths in females. The greatest increase in deaths each winter is in the elderly population. In the winter of 2009/10 there were 20,600 more deaths among those aged 75 and over, compared with levels in the non-winter period. In contrast, there were 4,900 excess winter deaths among those under the age of 75.

    The number of extra deaths occurring in winter varies depending on temperature, the level of disease in the population, and other factors. Increases in deaths from respiratory and circulatory diseases cause most of the excess winter mortality. Influenza is often implicated in winter deaths as it can cause complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, especially in the elderly. However, relatively few death certificates actually mention influenza. The winter of 2009/10 was the coldest since 1995/96 (The Met Office, 2010), but levels of influenza were relatively low for most of the winter season (Health Protection Agency, 2010).”

    Excess deaths hover around the 25000 mark in most years. In 1999-2000 it was 48000 and in 2008-2009 it was 36000. Between 1999 and 2009 over 314000 excess deaths are recorded.

    We all underastand the reality – fuel poverty caused by increaseing costs causes old people to die. More women die because there are more elderly women than men since they live longer.

    The report rather fallaciously comments that fuel poverty as a result of poor housing stock causes avoidable health inequality and is unjust. It recommends proper insulation and the use of less fuel. The casue of these deaths is primarily the cost of heating.

    What is unjust is that the price of heating a home has spiralled out of control over recent years so that those who are left to survive after a lifetime of work and paying their dues on the pittance that is the state pension in this country have to choose fuel or food. That we live in a society where tens of thousands of elderly people die each winter because of this reality, not poor housing stock, is one of the scandals of our age.

    And the politicos and greenies want to make it worse. Shame on them.

  5. So to spread affordable heating they assume that by increasing the energy efficiency of homes the power suppliers will respond to reduced demand by… doing nothing to the price?

    Errr, doesn’t that seem a *bit* on the wishful thinking side?

  6. Of course Anthony, they have to frighten people to the actions they want. Every news story must be extreme and deadly.

  7. There is an assumption that insulating homes reduces energy consumpton for heating and therefore reduces CO2 emissions.

    The only proper scientific study of this matter was undertaken by an Australian scientist and he came to an unexpected and yet logical conclusion.

    The counterintiutve conclusion was that insulation leads to increased energy consumption.

    The reason comes down to old fashioned ‘scope creep’.

    Instead of heating just the rooms they are in people use a little bit more energy to heat the entire house.
    To put it another way the act of insulating the house triggers a second order effect which more than wipes out the original gain.

    It could be argued that there would be a saving if people insulated the house and maintained their old heating habits but the reality is that they do not.
    The reality is that they opt to use a bit more energy to heat a lot more house and so consumption goes up.

    This was the conclusion of the only scientific study and yet because it contradicts a superficial ‘common sense’ test it was never even considered.

    So in conclusion scientific results are ignored when not convenient.

  8. Firstly, improving the energy efficiency of the housing stock—to spread “affordable warmth”—would bring multiple health gains,

    Would it? Most of the heat loss from traditional British buildings was via ventilation, as most of the heat from coal or wood fires went straight up the chimney. Modern British housing is almost completely airtight, with loft and cavity wall insulation and double glazing, and is therefore much more energy efficient. But is it healthy? The consequent low air change rates can very often result in the build-up of humidity and damp and of other airborne toxins (most of which were vented in the past). The old houses may have been cold and draughty, and that was a bad thing, but the extreme opposite warm and airless modern houses may be just as bad for health, but in very different ways.

  9. The interesting question: Why did Friends of the Earth commission a study on the problems of cold houses and energy poverty? FOE’s stated goal is to cool off the world and enforce energy poverty, so why are they examining the problems inherent in their utopia?

  10. What can one say other than that this is medicine? Medicine is the only field I am aware of that has more obvious dubious science than “climate science”. How can I say that? Read John Ioannidis “Why Most Published Research Findings Are False” http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020124 Much of what Ioannidis has to say would apply to climate science as well.

    The difference between medicine and “climate science”? In general Ioannidis seems to be taken seriously. Medicine knows it has a problem with its methods and approaches. Climate science apparently thinks that its problem is failure to completely stifle dissenting opinions.

  11. Where have I seen this sort of thing before? A perfectly good idea (insulate houses) justifiable for reasons of health and reduced energy cost, being presented as important for the environmental benefit of reducing global warming.

    Oh yes – the WUWT item a while back about lobbyists promoting a no-smoking lifestyle in part because the combustion of tobacco generates CO2 and contributes to global warming!

    It’s insidious. In the long run, this pervasive nonsense will do untold damage to environmentalism.

  12. Anthony,

    In plain english stating blame everything on greenhouse gases and their increase with the colder weather to keep warm.

  13. As usual the Fiends of the Earth are publishing the blindingly obvious and putting their AGW spin to it. The main reason for British Homes being cold is people can’t afford to heat them thanks to all the Carbon Tax, Fuel Tax and other ‘Green’ charges on their wallets.

    Anything published by Greenpeace and Fiends of the Earth is media spin and just another attempt to dress up their communising socialism as “save the planet.” What they want is a return to cave dwelling subsistence farming – and yes, I’m biased and prejudiced against these pseudo-scientific media spun “reports” these eco-terror organisations constantly push to frighten the ignorant.

  14. Ah, the economics of the cities, and their [sustainable] infrastructure.. and population.
    What coud be more fruitful?

    Forget about the housing and feeding of the people that provide services in the city: small business workers, nurses, police, teachers and all manner of contractors to roads, transport, energy, associated services, business and infrastructure of retail and manufacturing.
    What could be a more likely ensnarement? Oh, feeding the masses, …organic? Temporally they would be …. a case study and benefit as a healthy cohort of workers. And defined geographically as an economic carbon-green reductive [political] district for study, at that! What a bonanza!

    http://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/people/GS_marmot.htm

    http://education.guardian.co.uk/librariesunleashed/story/0,,2274826,00.html

  15. What’s the solution to ‘energy poverty’?

    Energy WEALTH!

    Cheap, plentiful energy, that lets people keep their houses toasty warm at very low cost. Drill, dig, burn, “live long and prosper.”

    /Mr Lynn

  16. “The reality is that even in the subtropical city of Brisbane (population two million) deaths as a result of extremes of winter cold are roughly equal to those attributable to extremes of summer heat.”
    No. Hot and cold “extremes” aren’t what kill people. It is poverty that kills. It is the pinnacle of hypocrisy for them to even talk about “energy poverty”, or lack of the ability for poor people to afford adequate heating or cooling for themselves (much less the ability to afford to upgrade their housing), the very condition they have caused and wish to exacerbate further. Have they no shame?

  17. Excessive insulation (and it usually is in the UK, in the form of hermetically sealed houses with near zero ventilation) causes problems for people with respiratory diseases because of the vast increase in humidity (condensation) which increases the growth of moulds.

  18. Oh yes, @ John Johnstone, it already has done a lot of damage to environmentalism. Thank goodness.

  19. No, no, and no. Cold homes do not cause illness. Improper health care and poor health habits cause illness. Time and time again, this old wive’s tale crops up. Cold, in and of itself, of the kind being discussed in the article above, has no affects on health. That the house is cold is likely part of the picture regarding rising cost of living issues. As those costs go up, belt tightening begins to squeeze out many things that can and do affect health. Our go yearly checkups, medicines, healthy food choices, exercise, travel, being able to stay home and take care of family members who are sick, etc. And those things DO affect health.

    So here is what I think could happen. Idiotic goverments jack up the price of energy such that the elderly and those with chronic illness can no longer afford to keep themselves healthy. Regardless of whether or not their house is warm or cold.

  20. Frank Davis says:
    May 17, 2011 at 3:56 am

    The old houses may have been cold and draughty, and that was a bad thing, but the extreme opposite warm and airless modern houses may be just as bad for health, but in very different ways.

    Last year we put in a considerable amount of additional insulation – and because we were more insulated, we have had to increase the amount of ventilation. The loft space is particularly apt as an example. We started with 4″ of mineral wool with no ventilation in the loft. Being a 1960s house a lot of the moisture from inside the house made its way into the loft, but because the insulation was poor, the loft space was heated and therefore avoided the worst damp.

    However, now we have increased that to 9″ (the oddities of recycled timber), we have had to blitz the roof and pepper it with holes to ensure that every bit of moisture is removed before it can condense on a cold surface. And whilst it is obvious now, we’ve finally cured our damp chimney (condensation onto the cold brick was the likely cause).

    Fortunately, I researched all this years ago when we had another house. But when I talked to a local builder and someone from the energy saving agency they looked at me as if I were talking classical Greek.

    Which means in a decade or two there will be a thriving business repairing all the damage to houses that were insulated to prevent the heat getting to the cold parts of the structure that needed that heat to drive off the moisture that in a decade or two will wreck many houses.

  21. So, let me get this straight. If a society has an inequality that COULD be avoided, then injustice is occurring. Let’s assume, first, that the inequality can be avoided (yeah, big assumption, I know). So, if my friend has more shoes than me, then an injustice has occurred? All he has to do is give me some of his shoes (or have the government take some of his shoes and give it to me) and justice will be served? What if I don’t like shoes?

    Such an ideology requires a government to have perfect information, unlimited resources, and a society that all wants the exact same things. The only thing they can do is pretend these things are true (computer models anyone?). It’s scary to think of the kind of world we’d live in if justice was defined as inequality in material goods or health…oh wait, that’s kind of what we’re heading if the IPCC policy recommendations are implemented!

  22. In the UK, electricity suppliers face a government levy which is supposed to fund grants for improvements to domestic insulation. Unfortunately, the cack-handed system that was introduced means that the majority of the money raised goes to middle men, the approved installers. When I was offered a grant for increasing my loft insulation, the price quoted after the grant was nearly three times more than it cost me to do it myself without a grant. Until this discrepancy is sorted out many homes will remain difficult to keep warm. And I disagree with some comments above, if you are wealthy enough to insulate your property, high fuel prices are not as important compared to people living in uninsulated homes.

  23. “As the report notes, adolescents who live in a cold house have a fivefold increased risk of multiple mental health problems.”

    Absolute balderdash. I, like many others was brought up in the period before, during and after the war. Nobody had central heating or electric heating at that time. We merely had a small coal fire in one room. We just put on extra clothing to keep warm. Are they suggesting that all of us who suffered extreme cold in those days suffered increased multiple mental health problems? We certainly did not. And what about the communities that live in very cold climates and who spend much of their time outdoors, do they suffer more mental health problems than others? A ridiculous report that should not be taken seriously as so many similar reports.

  24. Here’s a part summary of a 2008 paper that Tony McMicheal gave:

    “Climate change is occurring faster than was predicted in the 1990s. Darfur is an example of the conflict and social breakdown resulting from drying. Fish numbers peaked in the 1980s, and the warming of oceans will displace commercial fisheries. There is increasing carbonic acid in waters, acidifying oceans and endangering the chalky substances on which tiny life depend. World food prices have risen sharply, and poorer nations have lower adaptive capacity. The States cannot wait. States can act on afforestation, sustainable water [not desalination], energy generation, family planning and transport. The world is not like the Magic Pudding.”

    If you start from a position of accepting an hypothesis and then write a paper to support it, you tend to run into a bit of criticism. Australia in 2011 has had rather different weather than 2008 and the impressions of the authors appear to be coloured by what they could recently remember when writing the paper. There’s an old song with the line “Old Father Thames keeps rolling along, down to the mighty sea”. Beware short-term variability.

  25. Building standards raised in Sweden and Finland? Most of Sweden and Finland routinely have months of sub-zero temperatures every year. If they had not historically already dealt with the problem of cold houses they’d all be dead!!! Slightly warmer countries tend to try and tough out the occasional harsh winter because they are rare and most people can get by when one comes along. But it is worth noting that the other health problems associated with airtight housing (mold, stale air, etc) in Sweden increased with attempts at new standards, it is all to do with ridiculous attempts at making houses that basically try to trap all heat and require very little electricity but with little consideration to a healthy air flow. The fact that in the 21st century in western/northern Europe it is still possible to kill people in winter (and summer for that matter) because of artificial electricity supply restrictions is a crime which the green hypocrites seem very willing to brush under the rug.

  26. News today in the UK.

    The industry secretary Vince Cable has won the cabinet battle to stop CO2 reduction schemes being charged to industry.
    Reason!
    No other european country is going to handicap their industry with these charges.

    Chris Huhne -Secretary of State: Department of Energy and Climate however is insisting that all CO2 targets are met.
    The Government “compromise” position is that the CO2 targets will be met and the full costs passed on to domestic energy users.
    So the reality of pensioners staying in bed all day because they cant afford their fuel bills will increase

  27. Right you are, Scottish, on the need for adequate attic ventilation when adding insulation. I discovered that the hard way, after a company called “Energy Improvements” (who should have known better) added blown-in cellulose insulation to our attic, a few years ago. Nothing was said about the need for added ventilation to this 50’s-era ranch home. I left a small, much-needed storage area, with access via a pull-down staircase (now with an easily-removed styrofoam cover) , and that winter discovered, to my horror, a thick frost coating the underside of the roof, and all supporting timbers. Had I simply closed off the attic, I shudder to think of what would have happened when all that frost started to melt.
    Fortunately, the fix was relatively simple – ridge vents + caps, and soffit vents, though it effectively doubled the overall cost of my “energy improvement”.

  28. My apology for the placement of this OT, Tips & Notes has no place to comment. We had a surprisingly cogent opinion piece in our local paper on the climate change hysteria:
    Politicians, bureaucrats will be forced to reject climate change propaganda “The drought of skeptical science and intellectual honesty in the green movement will eventually be washed away by a torrent of public backlash. It’s like the Colorado River. If you ignore the flood warnings, you’re going to drown. by James D. Kellogg

    http://www.postindependent.com/article/20110516/VALLEYNEWS/110519887/1022&parentprofile=1077

  29. What twaddle dressed up as science rather than just an ideology rehash to a recipe as funded by an organisation that would be happy if less humans survive on this planet. I am ashamed this came out of the ANU – such is the low point of scientific research in this country.

  30. We should not assume that because the planet is warming dangerously, cold temperatures will become a thing of the past. Climate scientists anticipate that warming will be accompanied by increased variability.6 Furthermore, warming will not be globally uniform. In particular, northern Europe might become much colder later this century if the meridional overturning circulation is weakened by inflows of fresh water from a melting Greenland ice sheet (the geological record shows that such things have happened before).

    Let’s have some fun:
    We should not assume that because the planet is cooling dangerously, hot temperatures will become a thing of the past. Climate scientists anticipate that cooling will be accompanied by increased variability.6 Furthermore, cooling will not be globally uniform. In particular, northern Europe might become much hotter later this century if the meridional overturning circulation is strengthened by outflows of sea water to a growing Greenland ice sheet (the geological record shows that such things have happened before).7

  31. More people die in winter than in summer at higher lattitudes, not because of cold temperatures per se, but through lack of sunlight and thus vitamin D. With some supplementation and improved ventilation very many would survive. Temperature alone within ordinary variations, no more kills people than it makes a bristlecone pine grow faster.

  32. Here in the UK we had a particularly cold winter month where the electric storage heating had to be full on to avoid the cold ( even with that I saw to my amazement ice forming around the door frame that made the door stick – and the ice was on the inside ! ) Anyhow we are now paying for that extremely cold month , our electricity monthly bill has doubled from £100 to £204 a month and will remain at this new rate until the excess bill is paid off . God only knows whats going to happen if we have another cold winter , we really really need global warming to kick in to save use from extreme poverty – my pension isnt even covering the £204 a month we now have to pay our electricity suppliers and my wife who works is having her hours cut in the shop where she works so no extra cash – its all going to pay for the ‘green’ extras adding to our bill – and we are as mad as hell as it seems it is going to stop the global warming we so desperately need to help us survive through the winter !!!

  33. so the solution to cold weather deaths is to raise energy prices through taxes to stop the planet from warming?

    make fuel more expensive and the planet colder to help reduce cold weather deaths. sounds like a policy platform for the Looney Party

    what if we let the planet warm up and kept energy prices low? wouldn’t that actually help solve the problem?

  34. ferd berple says:
    May 17, 2011 at 9:07 am
    so the solution to cold weather deaths is to raise energy prices through taxes to stop the planet from warming?

    You have to follow through thier logic to the conclusion: When populations can no longer afford to keep themselves warm in the winter, they will perish. After that, they won’t produce any more CO2 footprints and the planet will experience Global Cooling which then causes Global Warming. The Planet won’t be saved, but then there won’t be anybody left to argue the point.

  35. Fuel poverty increases general poverty. People die younger while others despair.
    Government action increases hardship, mortality rates and suffering.
    None in power will experience fuel poverty, die from cold, malnutrition and inadequate medical attention. None will be brought to book for the misery, destruction and death that their activities create.
    And the reason why we, the victims, should sacrifice ourselves is so that they can “feel-good” by having saved the planet and, in many cases, enrichen their lives!
    No way Jose.
    When the few threaten the future of the many, it’s time for muscular democracy to step forward.
    The sheep are used to being shorn but getting slaughtered is a different kettle of fish.

  36. To say the truth: Good isolation helps lower the energybill, keeps harsh winter outside and helps cooling in summer with lower cost. Really nice is that it’s allways 22C inside my home in Finland. Comfortable. 30% weaker isolation means 70% more money to energy.

  37. You’d think that with all the publicity about AGW and the need to deal with it, that intelligent people would be doing something about it in their ordinary lives. The evidence I have (based on observing the behaviour of friends, family and neighbours) is that there is a disconnect.

    Sure, company car drivers rush to get their hands on hybrid vehicles for the tax breaks, then drive them like lunatics, defeating the object.

    Householders don’t bother to turn off the heating during the day, even when out. When in, they walk around the house dressed for the Tropics, with the windows open to freshen things up.

    We’re sleep walking to a future of black outs and rationing, but what the heck…

  38. A Holmes says:
    May 17, 2011 at 8:47 am

    You won’t have been too pleased today then to hear on the BBC that Huhne’s newest great idea will cost you £52 per annum on your electricity bill in renewable charges.
    You will be even less pleased to learn, if you were not already aware, that the renewable charges levied on your current bills exceed that amount.
    By how much it is hard to say as that portion of the bill is not itemised, but a debilitating trawl of the internet reveals that it is currently at least £86 p. a. and could well be found to be a lot more by someone with a higher tolerance than mine for turgid and Byzantine officialese.
    I believe that a similar imposte applies to gas and oil bills, but such is the obfuscation surrounding these charges, unfurling the Gordian knot might present a better prospect.
    ROCs also apply to businesses: who knows what sums are amortised into the goods and services we consume.
    Liam Fox may be our salvation – Cameron out!

  39. Paper source: “National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health”

    Epidemiology is a fraudulent scam masquerading as science just like climate junk-science. Want to know how bad epidemiology is? Check out http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/. I would not be surprised if so-called climate scientists didn’t learn many of their tricks from epidemiology which has been presenting fraud as scientific fact for a much longer time.

  40. Health inequality? really? In europe they are using terms like Health Inequality. I thought it was bad enough that in the US they use the term social justice, but apparently this is just the begining of more aweful expressions the government will invent to help control your life.

  41. Last year we put in a considerable amount of additional insulation – and because we were more insulated, we have had to increase the amount of ventilation. The loft space is particularly apt as an example. We started with 4″ of mineral wool with no ventilation in the loft. Being a 1960s house a lot of the moisture from inside the house made its way into the loft, but because the insulation was poor, the loft space was heated and therefore avoided the worst damp.

    Wrong solution for the problem, you did not need to increase ventilation of the loft so much as you needed to put a vapor barrier on the warm side of the insulation so the moisture never got into the loft in the first place.

    Vapor barriers are well known and required by building codes in locations that routinely experience cold winters, in areas where such conditions are relatively rare, either codes or knowledge about vapor barriers in the insulation industry is the source of the problem.

    You should check your local building codes and see if they require vapor barriers. If they do, the company that put in the insulation should pay to do the job correctly.

    Larry

  42. Some more insulation for energy efficiency to reduce carbon dioxide emissions? And as the people who need the added insulation the most are those who can’t afford it, why not do it as a taxpayer government-funded program?

    Maybe they want a worldwide repeat of the fun and joy of Australia’s insulation scheme under former PM Kevin Rudd, especially with the stunning success of the aluminum foil insulation they used (BBC “family friendly” report). I well remember when I was regularly reading Andrew Bolt’s blog and the many times he pointed out the scheme’s many little triumphs, quite loudly, and rightfully so. (For which he used many non-family friendly words, and rightfully so.)

  43. My first impression was that they were inventing needs to spend government money.

    Since Brisbane was mentioned, may I point out that houses that are cold, are also breezy. There are a lot of old Queensland style homes in Brisbane. Louvers are common, old wooden walls are common, gaps and even broken windows with plastic sheets over them are common.

    You would have to rebuild the entire home to fix these problems, putting insulation in the roof and walls does not fix a breezy louver.

  44. The reality is that even in the subtropical city of Brisbane (population two million) deaths as a result of extremes of winter cold are roughly equal to those attributable to extremes of summer heat.2

    What the original article (2) said…..

    . In the summer, both cardiovascular diseases and all-cause mortality in the elderly population had significant positive correlations with monthly temperatures. In the winter, negative correlations were found between monthly mean maximum temperatures and cardiovascular-disease mortality, and between. monthly mean minimum temperatures and respiratory-disease mortality

    Yes, they said negative winter correlations……………

    Brisbane mean Tmin for July (our Winter depth) 8.80C
    Brisbane mean Tmax for Feb. (our Summer peak) 29.00C

    I have been living in Brisbane for the last 5mths after time in Canberra where it really does get cold, and yes, it does seem to be cool, more likely due to a higher moisture content, but deaths due to Brisbane cold. Oh come on !

  45. Since the first paragraph emphasis yet again the “Super exponential accelerating CO2 growth” paper and Willis failed to explain what the term meant in his March 17 post. It is worth understanding what the term does mean.

    Firstly, we should note that this is used in a mathematical paper not a tabloid journal. The prefix “super” means superior to or larger than , not humongous OMG kind if big as in Superbowl.

    So “super-exponential” means a growth pattern that is changing faster than the exponential funtion. Exponentials can be very gradual , all depends on the parameters and where on the curve you look. The key characteristic is they grow faster and faster
    as they progress. A “super-exponential” has an even greater tendence to run away.

    Also note that a “super-exponential” is not an exponential that is “super” or really bad, it is NOT an exponential at all, it is some different function that grows faster than an exponential.

    What most people don’t realise is that a “steady” 2% per (or any small but positive % per year) growth is not stable. It is basically a run-away trend that shoots off to infinity. Something has to give.

    From page two of the paper:
    http://arxiv.org/PS_cache/arxiv/pdf/1101/1101.2832v2.pdf

    The growth rate r of the human population (or of any other variable) is defined
    by expression (2). Thus, a constant growth rate corresponds to a population growing
    exponentially, with a doubling time given by (log 2)/r. As the present growth rate is
    r(2010) ≈ 1.8% per year, this gives a present doubling time of 38.5 years. If nothing
    changes, the present 6.8 billion people will be more than 13 billion in 2050!

    Willis’ plot unfortunately did not help clarify what is happening to CO2 unless you already understand all this.

    What we can see is that CO2 rate of change is firmly positive everywhere and getting bigger. Now from what I quoted above we can see that a flat horizontal line on that graph would represent and exponential increase in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. So any positive trend on that graph is fairly and accurately described as “super-exponential”. This is not alarmism or hyperbolics, it is mathematically correct.

    The only good news there is that the graph is less steep now than it was in the 70’s. That means the growth of CO2 is “less” super-exponential that is was, but it’s still super-exponential.

    Maybe if that continues , by around 2030 the growth will be “only” an exponential growth.

  46. PS due the the logarithmically decreasing significance as CO2 levels rise, an exponential increase is CO2 will lead to a linearly increasing “forcing”, leading to a constant fixed rate (not a % rate) of temperature increase, eg 0.7C per century per century. This results in a parabolic rise in temperature. It is similar to the constant acceleration due to gravity leading to a parabolic curve.

    The line labelled “quad” in the following reconstruction is such a rise.

  47. “We should not assume that because the planet is warming dangerously, …”
    That’s what the lemmings are claiming anyway. What if you are not a lemming?

  48. The housing stock on the UK is for the main part rather old and it is doubtful whether these old houses can be made as energy efficient as the government would like to believe. Most heat is lost through the walls. Cavity wall insulation will reduce this heat loss but most old houses (pre 1940) do not have cavity walls. They have solid walls and solid walls are difficult to insulate.

    Much energy is lost through the roof. The government estimates that many homes do not have adequate roof insulation. That is probably correct but fails to take into account that most people’s loft space is full of old clothes, boxes, rugs and the like which whilst not as efficient as proper insulation, does partially insulate the loft space. It is therefore probable that less savings can be made in this area than the government forecasts.

    The next largest source of heat loss is through windows and gaps under doors etc. Double glazing can reduce this heat loss. However, there is a down side to this. Old houses were designed to be drafty and if glazing is tightened up, old homes often become damp. To avoid damp problems one either has to keep a window open or fit air bricks or ventilators in the window frames. Thus if one is to avoid a damp house, any gains through fitting double glazing are offset by having to keep a window open or fitting ventilators.

    The upshot of the above is that the government’s estimates for energy savings are too optomistic and are unlikely to be achieved. The present UK energy policy will lead to a substantial increase in early mortality rates in old people not simply because of increased heating costs (resulting in exacerbating the fuel poverty problem) but also because energy rationing will inevitable occur whenever there are adverse winter conditons with blocking highs and no wind for those stupid windmills. For the last 2 winters for lengthy periods (about 3 weeks), wind energy was producing between just 1 to 8% of design specification, 3 or 4 % being typical. Green energy cannot provide reliable energy and continued power cuts during cold weather periods will be a killer.

    The government should be held accountable for each and any extra deaths caused by their foolish policy.

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