More than 1 3 Dutch people live in an unsanitary home

Product news | by one of our reporters

Publication date: today

More than a third (37%) of Dutch people live in a home with damp, mold, lack of sunlight, noise or freezing temperatures. These indoor climate risks have negative consequences for (mental) health, well-being, and productivity.

This is evidenced by the 2022 Healthy Home Barometer, an annual study of the relationship between living climate in buildings and homes and health, commissioned by VELUX GROUP

Since the beginning of 2020, Covid-19 has gripped the Netherlands and the fight against this virus. The closures that followed forced millions of Dutch people to stay at home. Homes are not only used as living spaces but are now also used as offices and classrooms. For some, they had to sit at home well, enjoy their home, its freedom and flexibility, and were more productive than ever. But for people who live in damp, dark, cold or noisy homes, having to stay home is a major challenge to their (mental) health, well-being and productivity, in an exciting and already stressful period.

The pandemic has highlighted housing inequality and the importance of quality housing for all. So this year’s Healthy Home Barometer focuses on the homes we live and work in and the urgent need for renovation.

Dutch internal climate
The research shows that millions of Dutch people (37%) are exposed daily to one or more indoor climate hazards: noise, humidity, mold, cold and lack of daylight. More than a quarter of Dutch people (27%) deal with disturbing noises from neighbors or the street. This can lead to health problems, such as digestive disorders and difficulty sleeping. Fifteen percent live in a home with leaks, damp walls and ceilings, or rotten windows and floors, which can lead to asthma and other respiratory problems. One in ten Dutch (11%) on low incomes cannot adequately heat their home. Living temperatures that are too low can lead to cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Finally, 3% of Dutch people report that they find their homes too dark, which increases the risk of depression and sleep problems.

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Health risks increase as people are exposed to more indoor climate hazards, and people who live in homes with all four risks are four times more likely to suffer from ill health.

Ventilation against pathogens
Research on SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) has shown that a good indoor climate through regular ventilation has a positive effect on health. The virus is spread by small droplets (aerosols) and the risk of spreading is increased in unventilated areas. Natural ventilation, by opening windows and doors, reduces the risk of contamination due to the expulsion of pathogens present in the air. The World Health Organization and other national health authorities also recommend regular ventilation of areas through natural or mechanical ventilation.

need for renewal
In addition to the immediate health benefits, reducing indoor climate risks in the Netherlands also leads to significant economic benefits. For example, reduced exposure to moisture or mold and a lack of daylight in apartment buildings appears to result in at least €2.8 billion through 2050 as a result of improved health and productivity. In addition, it provides €2 billion in direct savings in healthcare costs. Better schools will provide ventilation €5.2 billion up to 2050 as a result of improved productivity. For offices with better ventilation, this value is 7.9 billion euros.

The above figures show that investing in a healthy indoor climate means not only investing in the health of the Dutch population, but also in the Dutch economy. This confirms the need for renewal. By renovating existing buildings to improve the indoor climate, health and well-being benefits and increased levels of productivity can be achieved. In addition, it will save energy and reduce climate impact, and will provide economic benefits to the Netherlands.

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Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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