Air pollution is the greatest health threat in Poland, with 50,000 premature deaths annually and…
[This letter was sent to all Members of European Parliament of the Industry, Research and Energy committee on 16 November 2017]
I am writing on behalf of HEAL, a leading European not-for-profit organisation working for better health through a healthier environment, regarding the Energy Efficiency directive, set to be voted by the EP’s Industry committee on November 28.
In Europe, buildings use 40% of energy and produce nearly 36% of CO2 emissions. The EED legislation does not only have the potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions, it is first and foremost a key tool for healthier homes for millions of Europeans! As Europeans spend 90% of their time indoors, the quality of homes is a public health issue.
The evidence linking buildings and building efficiency to physical and mental health is increasing:
• 1 in 6 Europeans live in homes that make them sick: leaky, often damp homes, in urgent need of retrofits. Such buildings are defined as having “leaking roof or damp floor, walls or foundation, a lack of daylight, inadequate heating during the winter or overheating problems”;
• Europeans are more than 1.5 times as likely to report poor health when living in an unhealthy building;
• Europeans are 40% more likely to have asthma when living in a damp or moldy home;
• Damp conditions are strongly linked to childhood illness (Gilbertson et al, 2006b, p12);
• Up to 100 000 excess winter deaths in Europe are directly linked to cold homes, a situation directly linked to oftentimes inefficient buildings;
• Cold homes are also shown to affect mental well-being: in the UK, programs addressing home insulation showed a significant impact in reducing anxiety and depression (Green and Gilbertson, 2008, pp14,18).
Improving the health and comfort of people in buildings holds huge potential for economic and societal benefits such as better health, increased productivity, reduced sick leave and a decrease in associated medical costs.
Progress on efficiency is also an opportunity to improve air quality, bringing massive healthcare cost savings. The 2017 Cambridge Econometrics study commissioned by the European Commission estimates a 40% energy efficiency target would save a whopping 77 billion Euros in healthcare costs.The Commission also estimates that approximately 200,000 premature deaths could be avoided.
A 40% efficiency target for 2030, associated with a strong Article 7, is crucial to drive renovation efforts and provide a stable context for investments in efficiency improvements, which will bring huge health benefits and tackle social inequality.
We hope we can count on your support for these proposals.
Director for Strategy and Campaigns