Does Improving Insulation and Heating Improve Health?

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT00489762
Recruitment Status : Completed
First Posted : June 21, 2007
Last Update Posted : June 21, 2007
Information provided by:
University of Otago

Brief Summary:

The Housing, Heating and Health Study has enrolled 409 households with ineffective heaters, who have a child with asthma between 6 and 12 years.

In the winter of 2005, houses were insulated and baseline measures taken of indoor temperatures, nitrogen dioxide, with more intensive indoor air quality monitoring in a sub-sample of 33 homes.

Objective data are being collected on the household’s health and energy usage. The households randomly assigned to the intervention group will have new heaters installed over the summer.

Results will be available after the follow-up data collection in 2006.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Asthma Procedure: Installation of an energy efficient heater Not Applicable

Detailed Description:
  1. Introduction New Zealand houses are relatively poorly constructed and maintained for the temperate climate and most homes are heated to less than the WHO recommended minimum winter temperature of 18°C. Excess winter mortality is comparable to the levels in Portugal and Scotland. The Group’s previous Housing, Insulation and Health Study has shown that insulating existing homes leads to a small but significant improvement in health and energy consumption, but raised the question as to whether installing more sustainable heating could increase these gains.
  2. Study design

We have enrolled 409 households, who use either plug-in electric heaters or unflued gas heating, and where there is a child with asthma, aged between 6 and 12 years. In the winter of 2005, uninsulated houses were insulated and baseline measures taken of indoor temperatures in the living room and the child’s bedroom, and levels of nitrogen dioxide. Intensive monitoring of indoor air quality is being carried out in a sub-sample of 33 homes. All members of the child’s family have filled out detailed questionnaires of their health and the heads-of -household have completed a questionnaire on the characteristics of the household’s energy usage. Objective measures are also being collected of the household’s fuel bills, the child’s attendance at school and the family’s health care utilisation.

Households are randomised so that the intervention group will have their choice of new, more efficient and sustainable heaters (heat pumps, wood pellet burners, or flued gas heaters) that heat more of the house and which emit no internal emissions installed over the summer. In the winter of 2006, follow-up measures will be taken and then the control households will receive their choice of new heaters.

Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Actual Enrollment : 409 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Single
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: Housing, Heating and Health Study:a Randomised Community Trial
Study Start Date : June 2005
Actual Study Completion Date : October 2006

Resource links provided by the National Library of Medicine

MedlinePlus related topics: Asthma
U.S. FDA Resources

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Asthma Symptoms [ Time Frame: One year ]
  2. FEV1 [ Time Frame: One year ]
  3. Children's days off school and general practitioner visits [ Time Frame: One year ]

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Energy usage [ Time Frame: One year ]
  2. Hospitalisation [ Time Frame: One year ]
  3. Temperature in the Home [ Time Frame: Four months ]

Information from the National Library of Medicine

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Ages Eligible for Study:   6 Years to 12 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Household has asthmatic child between 6 and 12, is living in study area, and will not be moving in the two years after applying to join the study.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Heating of good quality and comparable to heater that will be installed by the study

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT00489762

New Zealand
University of Otago
Wellington, New Zealand, 6002
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Otago
Study Director: Philippa Howden-Chapman, PhD Housing and Health Research Programme