As most European countries have no official definition for the term "energy poverty", this state is often described as the "inability to keep homes adequately warm". There is no official definition, but the problem is becoming a main challenge of the European welfare systems and beyond, abounding on the inequalities derived from living conditions and social determinants, with a direct and negative impact on health and wellbeing, mainly in urban contexts.
Health problems attributable to energy poverty include respiratory diseases, heart attacks, stroke and mental disorders (stress, anxiety, depression) and acute health issues, such as hypothermia, injuries, or influenza. Living in energy poverty poses a significant risk to the physical and mental health of those living in cold homes, and it is a significant public health priority. It has been estimated that a fifth of excess winter deaths are attributable to the coldest quarter of homes in the UK. Living in cold homes is associated with a range of physical and mental health effects and is known as a risk factor for cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
The complex nature of this recently identified "energy poverty" phenomenon requires a comprehensive analysis of the problem and a multidimensional approach, which should involve environmental, political, social, regulatory and psychological issues. Urban policies and initiatives might respond very efficiently to energy poverty and its effects on the citizens' wellbeing and health. The policies could provide evidence-based interventions covering different angles of the challenges, including complementary actions and covering individual (behavioural) and social-political actions (regulations, urban planning) that include health.
WELLBASED project aims to design, implement and evaluate a comprehensive urban programme to reduce energy poverty and its effects on the citizens' health and wellbeing, built on evidence-based approaches in different European pilot cities, representing different urban realities and a diverse range of welfare and healthcare models.
The project's multidisciplinary consortium made up of 19 partners from 10 countries. It has been built to guarantee the full coverage of the scientific, clinical, social and environmental competencies and gather the views of different communities and actors necessary to develop, test and evaluate the interventions related to WELLBASED to maximize its chances of success. The project is also a part of the European cluster on urban health projects.
ASIDEES is a partner in the H2020 WELLBASED project and leads the "Pilots preparation & implementation" work package.