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Drawing from the results of a series of Pan-European surveys, the Healthy Homes Barometer 2018 sets to investigate the link between homes and health throughout Europe. 

This year's edition looks into the rising trend of suburbanisation, the risks of an increasingly aging housing stock, the challenges and obstacles of home renovations, specifically in relation to social and affordable housing, and the importance of investing in healthy, bright workplaces.

 

Suburbanisation


In Europe, suburban populations grew on average 54% more than urban populations between 1961 and 2011, with people looking to enjoy the relative space and comfort of single-family homes. The trend towards suburbanisation is principally due to people’s demand for a certain quality of life, combined with the economics of housing and other lifestyle factors. Given the recent trend of suburban areas outpacing urban growth in most European countries, it is vital that we focus on the needs and opportunities presented by these growing communities.

Aging and deficient building stock 

In the 2017 edition of the Healthy Homes Barometer, we saw how the condition of the home we live in has a direct impact on how healthy we feel. As 2/3 of Europe’s residential building stock is more than 40 years old, and only 10% of buildings currently have A or B class energy performance certificates, Europe is struggling with an aging housing stock. The need for renovation offers an opportunity to achieve major improvements in health, comfort and efficiency. Single-family homes with deficiencies are more likely to have a negative impact on health than multi-family homes, and this year’s research demonstrates that when it comes to deficient housing, homes cause illness more than your economic situation.

Barriers to renovation 

Even though 71% of European households could potentially afford a staged renovation at €75,000, capital isn't the only barrier that prevents home renovations in Europe. In fact, renovations can be challenging at the best of times, and in order to increase the renovation rate we must address the most common barriers faced by homeowners, while shaping effective policies.

Social and affordable housing 

 
Levels of social housing vary hugely across different European countries, according to different demographics and welfare systems. People with lower available income are more likely to be tenants than homeowners, or to live in social or municipal accommodation, are almost twice as likely to have deficiencies such as a leaking roof or a home that is too cold in winter.  Currently, inadequate housing costs EU economies nearly €194 billion per year, therefore investing in good quality social and affordable housing can significantly improve the overall health of society. 

Healthy working environments 

After our home, the workplace is where most of us spend a significant amount of time, and an average of 36% of the European workforce work in an office environment. Personnel costs, including salaries and benefits, typically account for about 90% of a business’ operating costs, meaning that small variations in workers’ productivity can potentially have a significant impact on a company’s performance and costs. As comfortable and healthy office spaces improve employee satisfaction and productivity, and given the high proportion of business costs spent on employees, such investments should be a no-brainer.

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