Fuel Poverty: Extra Winter (Gary Gardner)

Room 2 • 10:00 – 10:30 AM • Friday, Oct. 19


There is significant awareness that a high performing airtight building must address the potential for accumulations of allergens and other manifestations of poor IAQ. The concern for reducing energy consumption must be balanced with the need for high quality indoor air. However, it can be more serious than just IAQ. There is a demonstrated correlation between cold homes and health problems – especially for older occupants. European countries and the U.S. have histories of housing residents dying from exposure to cold and poor IAQ because their houses could not be kept warm enough nor have adequate IAQ. The quality of the building envelopes made it too expensive for the residents to heat the dwelling, and, the residents did not have enough money to improve the performance of the building – the definition of Fuel Poverty. A death is considered an Excess Winter Death (EWD) when it occurs in the winter as opposed to the other eight months of the year and is by natural causes only. Unlike private houses, EWD’s and Fuel Poverty housing can be documented:

  • 44,000 EWD’s in UK
  • 235,400 in Europe; 32.3 million houses
  • 32,700 EWD’s in USA; 5.9 million houses

This presentation will establish the link between improving energy consumption, controlling IAQ via ventilation systems in buildings and improving resident health. It will also demonstrate the problem in terms of the number of dwellings needing significant improvements and the ultimate negative health outcome.


Gary has been practicing architecture for over 30 years. Recently retired, he is an active consultant in all areas of architecture—particularly Passive House. He recently completed building his own certified Passive House. His most recent work was for Covestro, developing and marketing new foam-based solutions to solve moisture management and insulation problems. He has been involved in LEED from its beginning, and has been a USGBC reviewer. Gary was a founding principal of Gardner + Pope Architects, which consolidated into dggp Architecture. The firm is now known as 4080 Architecture and is practicing in downtown Pittsburgh.