Large urban areas can be much warmer than surrounding areas and, in Greater Melbourne, this is often correlated with areas of disadvantage. These effects are further amplified when housing is poorly insulated and expensive to cool.
Consequently, temperature-related death and illness is increasing. People with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly and the very young are particularly vulnerable.
In addition, energy costs are rising, and low-income families, pensioners and other vulnerable people face increasing difficult to effectively cool their homes or heat them in the cold months of winter.
Retail electricity prices for households have increased by 80 to 90 per cent over the past decade and low-income households have been hardest hit.
Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, in partnership with Brotherhood of St Lawrence (BSL), are working together to support vulnerable households to protect them from these health risks and reduce their energy costs.
By installing energy efficient solutions such as rooftop solar, efficient reverse cycle heating/cooling, insulation and more targeted service provision during times of temperature related risk, households are not only saving money on energy bills, but will enjoy warmer and cooler homes.
As part of this project, BSL has specifically targeted low-income individuals with pre-existing health conditions as they are particularly vulnerable to temperature-related health impacts.
The Foundation’s Senior Program Manager for Environment & Sustainability, Dan Pediaditis said, “These measures not only reduce the cost of living for low-income households, but also reduce Victoria’s significant energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
“Most importantly, they provide protection to people from temperature-related risks through affordable, efficient cooling and heating systems, thus reducing the risk of temperature-related ill health and deaths.”