Researchers find that Australia's death rate due to cold weather is double that of Sweden.
The latest issue of the Building Knowledge newsletter features an international study funded by the UK Medical Research Council that links temperature, building quality and mortality rates. Professor Barnett, a researcher, based at the Queensland University of Technology, has concluded that Australia’s death rate due to cold weather is almost double that of Sweden and is almost entirely due to the poor quality in which we build our homes.
Swedish homes are well insulated and are designed to have stable internal temperatures unlike many Australian homes, which are unstable as heating and cooling are often an afterthought. Australian homes are commonly serviced by an oversized air conditioner, poorly insulated walls, and leaky doors and windows, allowing for a 60% to 85% heat loss. Heating largely uninsulated homes is more expensive and inefficient.
Constant exposure of a building to low temperatures often results in mould caused by condensation, leading to more frequent illnesses and an increased likelihood of a shorter life expectancy. Therefore, through simple insulation techniques in new construction, as much as 70% of excess air leakage can be eliminated. Existing homes can also improve heat loss through insulation products. Bradford products such as Enviroseal™ and Bradford Insulation Batts are a solution to improve dramatically the ability of a home to retain warmth which will undoubtedly reduce the death rate in Australia due to cold weather.