Sustainable Homes for the Elderly

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  • Title: Sustainable Homes for the Elderly
  • Author(s): Andrea Parra-Ullauri, Lucelia Rodrigues
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Common Ground Open
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Aging and Society
  • Keywords: Energy Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Elderly, Smart Homes, Assisted Living, Independent Living
  • Volume: 7
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2160-1909 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2160-1917 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Parra-Ullauri, Andrea , and Lucelia Rodrigues. 2017. "Sustainable Homes for the Elderly." The International Journal of Aging and Society 7 (4): 55-71. doi:10.18848/2160-1909/CGP/v07i04/55-71.
  • Extent: 17 pages


The rapidly growing elderly population is a worldwide concern due to the added pressure on public resources and the associated difficulties with supporting these vulnerable members of society. In the UK, ten million people were over sixty-five years old in 2010, and this is projected to increase to nineteen million by 2020. Over two million households are considered to be in fuel poverty and living in unsatisfactory conditions, and many of those people struggling to afford their energy bills are elderly. Fuel poverty is proven to lead to decreased health, quality of life, and wellbeing. Often, assisted- and independent-living features are considered separately from sustainable and energy-efficient design strategies. In this article, the authors argue that due to the overlaps between the concepts and their benefits, these should be considered holistically in the design of housing solutions for the elderly in order to include all key components that help to support health and wellbeing: spatial quality, easy mobility, adaptability, environmental comfort, energy efficiency, and smart technologies for domestic health care monitoring. The Nottingham H.O.U.S.E. in Nottingham, UK, an exemplary sustainable home, was used as a vehicle to explore this approach. A multi-objective methodology was used: spatial and environmental standard parameters were compared and aligned with users’ needs as gathered from interviews and empirical data. Significant reductions of 61 percent of energy demand when compared to a typical dwelling for elderly users were achieved, with comfort standards maintained full-time and spatial requirements adapted to support independent living.