Energy interventions that facilitate sustainable development and impact health: An overview of systematic reviews

Michelle M. Haby*, Evelina Chapman, Rachel Clark, Luiz A.C. Galvão

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Objective. To inform policy by providing an overview of systematic reviews on interventions that facilitate sustainable energy use and have a positive impact on health. Methods. Systematic review methods were used to synthesize evidence from multiple systematic reviews and economic evaluations through a comprehensive search of 13 databases and nine websites based on a pre-defined protocol, including clear inclusion criteria. Both grey and peer-reviewed literature published in English, Spanish, and Portuguese during the 17 years from January 1997 - January 2014 was included. To classify as "sustainable," interventions needed to aim to positively impact at least two dimensions of the integrated framework for sustainable development and include measures of health impact. Results. Five systematic reviews and one economic evaluation met the inclusion criteria. The most promising interventions that impacted health were electricity for lighting and other uses (developing countries); improved stoves for cooking and health and/or cleaner fuels for cooking (developing countries); and household energy efficiency measures (developed countries). These interventions also had potential environmental and economic impacts. Their cost-effectiveness is not known, nor is their impact on health inequalities. Conclusions. What is needed now is careful implementation of interventions where the impacts are likely to be positive but their implementation needs to be rigorously evaluated, including possible adverse impacts. Care needs to be taken not to exacerbate health inequalities and to consider context, human behavior and cultural factors so that the potential health benefits are realized in real-life implementation. Possible impact on health inequalities needs to be considered and measured in future primary studies and systematic reviews.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)200-207
Number of pages8
JournalRevista Panamericana de Salud Publica/Pan American Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2016


  • Renewable energy
  • Review
  • Sustainable development
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Systematic
  • United nations


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