Go electric for your health: Lai Heng's story

Inner West local, Dr Lai Heng Foong, is a senior emergency physician and chair of the Public Health and Disaster Committee of the Australian College of Emergency Medicine.

She has been on the frontline of medical interventions from both extreme weather events and the everyday impacts of air pollution. She is an active member of the Doctors for the Environment Australia.

"Gas heaters have been identified as a higher health risk for the elderly with chronic obstructive airway disease.” explains Dr Foong.

“The evidence is clear for changing out of gas appliances for household members with asthma and respiratory illnesses. These include First Nations people, children, young people with disabilities and the elderly. Cooking with gas is estimated to be responsible for up to 12% of the burden of childhood asthma in Australia.”

Dr Foong has presented on climate change and health at many health forums and in high schools. She continues to emphasise the positive mental health impacts that reduce anxiety if people can make small changes individually. “Electrification is a great place to start on your climate adaptation and mitigation journey.”

At a community level, Dr Foong is an active member of Asians for Climate Action. They have developed a flyer in chinese to educate the wok loving cooks on the benefits of induction cooking. “We share recipes and run cooking classes to help change the narrative.”

On a personal level, she has taken a staged approach in her terrace home with extra insulation, changing to an electric water heater and purchasing 100% renewable electricity. “We don't need to feel guilty about not changing all our appliances straight away. We will look at an induction cooktop when replacement time comes for our gas stove.”

On the work front, Dr Foong is also pressing for change. As part of the Net Zero advisory team in NSW Health, she is reviewing designs of the $1.3bn greenfield development of the new Bankstown- Lidcombe hospital to make it a fully electrified hospital.

She would like to see improved infrastructure for EV charging so that more people would be encouraged to transition to electric vehicles.

Fact sheets

Source: Doctors for the Environment Australia

Are you looking for further inspiration?

Doctor Annabelle welcomes the New Joneses film crew into her renovated all electric Melbourne home. Hear how she went from a draughty cold home with a $400 monthly energy bill to a comfortable home with no energy bills


You may also like

Ben's budget tips for Renters: Keep the Weather Out - The New Joneses

Apartment Solar: Tia and Murray Say Save Money & the Planet in their block of 18 apartments in Melbourne - The New Joneses

Disclaimer - the Solar Victoria rebates profiled in the videos are only available for Victorian residents. NSW residents still have access to the Commonwealth Small Scale Renewable Energy Scheme which supports small-scale installations like household solar panels and solar hot water systems.  

Rate this page

  • Rate as The content was useful0% The content was useful votes
  • Rate as The content was not useful0% The content was not useful votes

Thanks for your feedback. We will use this data to improve the content of this page.

Page last updated: 14 Jun 2023