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The renovation of the EU’s building stock is seen as critical in achieving the bloc’s climate change objectives, while reducing dependence on imported fuel. However, less is known about the positive impact renovation can have on people’s health.
In this Special Report, EURACTIV looks into the health issues caused by poor housing conditions.
People living in unhealthy buildings are 40% more likely to suffer from asthma, according to the 2017 edition of the Healthy Homes Barometer.
Buildings with a good indoor environment can reduce healthcare costs and are a way to tackle energy poverty, says the European Commission.
Health campaigners have called on European lawmakers to impose an EU-wide indoor air quality performance certificate for buildings to prevent mould and dampness from poisoning the air people breathe inside their homes and offices.
A last-minute push by energy activists has convinced the European Commission to include indoor air quality considerations into the revised Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD). Making it happen on the ground could prove a bigger challenge, however.
A social housing project in one of Brussels' poorest neighbourhoods aimed to demonstrate that renovation doesn't have to be expensive and brings many other side benefits – a notion that resonates with what policymakers are trying to achieve on the other side of town, from the posher buildings of the EU district.
Politicians often ignore building renovation programmes as low-level politics reserved for energy experts. This is misguided, says Oliver Rapf – as renovation stands at the crux of economic, energy, social and even health policies.
Renovating Europe's building stock isn't just critical for meeting EU climate and energy savings targets – it will dramatically improve living conditions and health while boosting the overall economy, according to the three MEPs leading the European Parliament's work on the Energy performance of buildings directive.
One in six Europeans – equivalent to the entire population of Germany – live in a damp or mouldy building, which increases their chances of getting illnesses such as asthma, according to a new study.