A warmer, drier home makes it harder for germs to spread. That’s the vital point when it comes to New Zealand’s predominantly cold and damp housing that results in a reported 1600 deaths every winter.
“The houses of the 48% of Kiwis who are shivering are extremely cold. Research published in 2010 by the Building Research Association (Branz) found that the average evening temperature of New Zealand living rooms during the winter was 17.8°C – below the World Health Organisation’s recommended minimum of 18°C. But some were a chilly 10°C.”
How does a cold home affect health?
The World Health Organisation recommends that our homes be at a minimum temperature of 18°C, or 20°C for homes with young children, elderly or ill people.
Cold, damp and mouldy homes pose the following risks:
- Increased risk of respiratory infections (when indoor temperatures are under 16°C
- Stress on the cardiovascular system (when indoor temperatures are under 12°C)
- Increased risk of the onset of asthma
- Asthma symptoms are likely to worsen
- Dampness and mould are associated with respiratory tract infections and bronchitis
(For more, visit Environmental Heath Indicators New Zealand)
Creating a warmer, drier home
According to energywise.govt.nz, the three essentials to create a healthy, energy efficient home are: keeping your home warm, ensuring your home is dry, and airing it out regularly.
If you are considering installing or upgrading your home’s insulation you may be eligible for an insulation grant. Check with your local council to find out what is on offer locally. Or free call EECA ENERGYWISE on 0800 358 676 or visit energywise. govt.nz to find out about the Warm Up New Zealand: Healthy Homes initiative.
Funding may also be available to you through the Warmer Kiwi Homes programme for some of the cost of an efficient wood burner, pellet burner or heat pump. Visit EECA ENERGYWISE for more information and to find out if you qualify.
Written by Julie Scanlon
Julie is Editor for Kidspot NZ and our MVP. Her hobbies include laughing uncontrollably at her own jokes, annoying her family by asking questions about movie plots, and never taking anything too seriously. She speaks a little Spanish and a lot of Yorkshire.
Favourite motto to live by: “It ain’t nothing but a thing”