Examining links between health and housing

Research and development can often provide the catalyst for companies to evolve and expand.

In a collaboration that’s providing valuable input to the development of their business strategy, social housing provider Coastline Housing has linked with the Centre to understand how new building practices intended to reduce energy use and fuel poverty – such as improved insulation and energy efficiency – can affect occupant health.

As part of a European Social Fund PhD project, the team are working with the Centre’s experts in the built environment and health to help reduce the presence of damp in homes, and understand the health impacts of related factors like mould.

This award winning enterprise-research partnership is at the cutting edge of built-environment research and has expanded to include the ground breaking technology of Cornish company, Carnego Systems

Collaborating with both Coastline Housing and the Centre’s researchers, Carnego are using their digital monitoring tools to collect real time data (such as temperature and humidity) on the indoor environment. The partnership is helping Carnego to develop a robust research approach for creating and testing new applications; an important step in developing their products and services.

“High-quality research is critical to any future decisions we make”

This continually evolving project is uncovering new academic knowledge that will provide a competitive advantage to both companies, as well as feeding into regional and national policy.

Head of Technical Services at Coastline Housing, Mark England, said

Working with the Centre has been a refreshing and positive experience for us. The professionalism, level of knowledge and new approach this project has brought has captured everyone’s enthusiasm. High-quality research is critical to any future decisions we make, so its importance can’t be underestimated.”

As a study with potentially broad applications, the team are working with several other partners including Community Energy Plus and the Met Office – who will be providing historical data to determine how the weather can affect indoor air conditions.

Lead academic partner on the project, Dr Nick Osborne, believes the strength and breadth of the research will help the project deliver vital findings:

We’ve assembled a team with expertise in a number of areas to fill an important gap in scientific understanding. This project will allow us to determine how behavioural and social factors can influence energy use, and crucially, how these link to the health and wellbeing of residents.”