The VELUX Group today has launched on May, the 31st 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 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, 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 costs to European governments and societies of just two of the many diseases associated with damp living environments reach a staggering EUR 82 billion per year.
"We know instinctively that living in unhealthy surroundings is bad for our health," says Michael Rasmussen, SVP Brand at the VELUX Group. "This study reveals to just what extent Europeans are suffering on account of their homes; and also the staggering financial costs to society of not bringing Europe’s aging housing stock up to par".
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 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.
"This study illustrates the tremendous impact of buildings on human health, on social inclusion, on air quality, and climate," says Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President for Energy Union at the European Commission. "When over one third of Europe’s CO2 emissions are emitted by buildings, when one in ten Europeans is energy poor and one in six lives in unhealthy housing – it is clear that change needs to start ‘at home’."