Good news… Our Healthy Ageing expert panel and Advisory Group are up and running!
Both are crucial to our Healthy Living in Low Carbon Homes research here at Swansea University. Actively involving members of the public (all aged over 50) throughout the project makes our work more relevant and improves the likelihood of technical success and improved public satisfaction in the end product (low carbon homes). Such stakeholder input will contribute to a better understanding of the social return on investment in Low Carbon Homes.
The panel, set up by myself and fellow researcher Dr Deborah Morgan, have been involved in the design of our research tools, actively reviewing and testing them as well as helping make our marketing documents readable and look interesting!
Our expert panel consists of five members, with a wealth of expertise in architecture, engineering, housing, supporting those in fuel poverty, government and health & social care sectors. The panel act as the voice of the end user and help to inform our research. It’s about listening to what people suggest and understanding where people are coming from and why it’s important. Without having the panel, we could potentially overlook something in our research design or make assumptions without realising.
Buildings and home developments are not often influenced by user needs and preferences. Our research into the social return on investment of LCH, involves direct stakeholder engagement to ensure that people’s views are counted/measured and their voices are reflected in decision making. This wider understanding of ‘social value’ of the project over its entire lifetime better captures the long-term social impacts of home design on health and well-being.
Our most recent meeting with the expert panel brought up many complexities that we will be looking into during our research. They identified key challenges with transitioning to Low Carbon homes, such as autonomy and control of heating in their homes and how well the houses can be adapted to suit people as they age.
They also have some interesting community based solutions and ideas such as looking at the whole community not just one house. In particular, intergenerational communities where more tech savvy generations can share knowledge with those less tech savvy.
Insights such as these are critical to our research, to ensure that the community’s needs, including those of older people, are at the heart of the homes being built.
Our Stakeholders and Field sites:
Active Building Centre: https://www.activebuildingcentre.com/project/active-homes-neath/
United Welsh Housing: https://www.unitedwelsh.com/blog/innovative-scheme-for-ely/
Pobl Living: https://poblliving.co.uk/developments/parc-eirin-2/