Link: “Freezing indoors? That’s because Australian homes are closer to tents than insulated eco-buildings

Original post found at: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jun/13/freezing-indoors-thats-because-australian-homes-are-closer-to-tents-than-insulated-eco-buildings

Australian housing then leaves a lot to be desired in terms of comfort and energy. Single-glazing is still typical, whereas in Sweden double-glazing has been required by building codes since 1960, with triple-glazing now the norm in many colder climates. Australian homes are leaky too. […] For many of us, we are paying thousands of dollars a year to heat our homes, only for this heat to escape straight through gaps in the walls.

What’s the impact of this? Sky-high bills for starters. Estimates in 2015 suggest about 28% of Australian households suffer from some form of fuel poverty – that is they either struggle to pay energy bills, or restrict energy use to the detriment of their health to keep them affordable. While spiralling energy prices are the driver, leaky uninsulated homes can magnify the effects. Take a 180 sq metres home in Canberra. If this received a 2-star NatHERS rating it would need 27,349kWh’s of electricity. If we assume $0.20/kWh, the cost would be $5,470 per year. A 6-star home would require 8,249kWh and cost $1,650, while a 10-star home would need only 100 kWh, costing a mere $20 a year.

The most vulnerable feel the effects most acutely. Research by UNSW found indoor temperatures in social housing as low as 5C in the winter and as high as 39.8C in the summer. The health impacts of this extend beyond being uncomfortable, with cold homes linked to increased blood pressure, asthma, poor mental health, respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

a cartoony avatar of Jessica Smith is a socialist and a feminist who loves animals, books, gaming, and cooking; she’s also interested in linguistics, history, technology and society.