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 – excess cold weather deaths due to indoor cold exposure and asthma due to indoor dampness exposure.

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

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