Energy poverty, residential building refurbishment and human health

COMBI: improving the quality of residential housing may avoid 24 000 premature deaths and loss of 23 000 life-years annually.

According to the European Union’s Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU SILC), 9.4% of European Union’s population were unable to keep their homes adequately warm and 15.2% lived in residential housing characterized by a leaking roof, damp walls, floors or foundation, and rot in window frames or floors in 2015. COMBI quantified the energy poverty-related public health impacts in the year 2030 of accelerated building refurbishments between 2015 and 2030 – avoided excess cold weather deaths due to reduced indoor cold exposure and avoided/reduced asthma due to reduced indoor dampness exposure.

Results are annual impacts in the year 2030, that result from energy efficiency actions throughout Europe leading to energy savings of about 8% relative to a reference scenario.

Depending on scenarios of whether policies are targeted towards socially vulnerable or not at all, the results show that:

  • 3 000–24 000 avoided premature deaths due to reduced indoor cold
  • 2 700–22 300 avoided disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) loss of asthma morbidity due to reduced indoor dampness
  • The associated economic value of avoided annual public health damage in 2030 ranges from 323 million EUR to 2.5 billion EUR for premature mortality due to indoor cold; and
  • from 338 million EUR to of 2.9 billion EUR due to asthma morbidity due to indoor dampness.

More details and full report