As air pollution is largely considered to be an outdoor problem, people are little aware of indoor contaminants. The World Health Organisation estimated that each year 4.3 million people die of exposure to household pollutants.
The EU Healthy Homes Barometer 2017 confirms that one out of six Europeans, the equivalent of Germany’s population, reports living in unhealthy buildings, which have damp, poor light, inadequate heating or overheating problems. And in some EU countries, the number is as high as one out of three.
Besides the contaminants outside, in our homes there are typical pollutants such as dust, spores, moulds, and those produced by human activities like cooking. This can lead to severe respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
Buildings with a safe indoor environment can reduce healthcare costs. That’s why several EU research projects are trying to boost the refurbishment of the existing stock. One of these is R2Cities, which has tested replicable solutions in Italy, Spain and Turkey.
By Ute de Groot
4 April 2018