The VELUX Group today launches the 2017 edition of the Healthy Homes Barometer in the context of an event dedicated to Healthy Buildings at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. This year’s study, developed in collaboration with Ecofys, a Navigant company, Fraunhofer IBP, and Copenhagen Economics, examines the effects of housing on the health of people in countries across Europe, along with the associated costs to society and ways to tackle the problem.
Europeans living in an “unhealthy” (meaning damp or mouldy) building are more than 1½ times (66%) more likely to report poor health, and 40% more likely to suffer from asthma, as those who do not. Meanwhile, Europeans who suffer energy poverty (here meaning they are unable to keep their homes comfortably warm in winter) are twice as likely to report poor health and nearly three times more likely to report damp in the home.
The costs of unhealthy buildings are not just felt by individuals either. The overall (direct and indirect) costs to European governments and societies of just two of the many diseases associated with damp living environments – asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – reach a staggering EUR 82 billion per year.
One solution is to modernize Europe’s existing buildings through energy efficient and healthy renovations. This would not only lead to improved health outcomes, lower societal costs, and reduced CO2 emissions, but would also provide a much-needed catalyst to European economies. The Healthy Homes Barometer 2017 goes on to examine the level of private capital available for renovation in EU member states – EUR 30 trillion – and what would be required to help unlock some of that total to invest in renovation.
These are just a few of the striking findings of this year’s report. For the first time, using data from the European Commission’s vast Eurostat Database, the analysis provides new evidence on the relationship between housing and health.
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