The impact of unhealthy buildings

Today one out of six Europeans – or the equivalent of Germany’s population – reports living in unhealthy buildings, i.e. buildings that have damp (leaking roof or damp floor, walls or foundation), a lack of daylight, inadequate heating during the winter or overheating problems. In some countries, that number is as high as one out of three.

Unfortunately, it’s clear that living in unhealthy buildings has negative health effects. More than 1½ times as many people who live in unhealthy buildings have poor health compared to those who live in healthy buildings (see figure at left). This demonstrates a clear correlation between unhealthy buildings and people who have rated the parameter self-perceived health as ‘poor’.

Factors such as mould and damp in buildings can affect not only the health of the buildings, but especially the health of those who live within them. More than 1 1/5 times as many Europeans have poor health when living in an unhealthy building.

 1 out of 6 Europeans - equivalent to the size of Germany’s population

Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission, expressed a concern when he was acquainted with the findings and has contributed with a foreword in the full Healthy Homes Barometer 2017.

It reminds us that buildings are intended to create a healthy home for citizens

said European Commission Vice-President, Maroš Šefčovič.

"Renovation of the existing building stock is key if the EU is to succeed in its climate and energy objectives,” Mr. Sefcovic pointed out. The ‘Energy Efficiency First’ principle is an important means to success. Increasing the renovation rate will also bring other benefits, by bolstering the construction sector and thereby creating growth and local jobs.

Read the foreword by the European Commission Vice-President here and watch his video address below. 

Indoor climate a priority in EU legislation 

The Commission Vice-President further stressed that buildings with a good indoor environment can reduce healthcare costs and are a way to tackle energy poverty, which also is recognized in the European Commission’s proposal for a revision of the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive.

It is striking, yet perhaps not unexpected, that twice as many people have poor health when living in energy poverty compared to those who enjoy proper conditions. This further reaffirms the importance of tackling energy poverty through building renovations

said Mr. Sefcovic said
The EPBD was up for negotiation 26 June 2017 in the European Council.

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