The right insulation correctly installed can significantly improve comfort and health in the home. Insulation helps protect the quality of life for the elderly and socially disadvantaged.
Research conducted in New Zealand involving 1,400 homes and nearly 5,000 individuals found that people living in insulated homes that were warmer and drier reported a significant improvement in the health of adults and children compared to people living in uninsulated homes (Housing and Health Research Program, Wellington School of Medicine, University of Otago).
Adults and children living in insulated homes reported less visits to their GP and were admitted less often to hospital for respiratory conditions. Adults were also significantly less likely to report sick days off work, and children were less likely to have days off school.
An evaluation of New Zealand Government subsidised insulation programme, using a sample of the 47,000 retrofitted homes, found a cost-benefit ratio of 4:1. This meant that the New Zealand Government saved $4 for every $1 spent on its insulation programme. These savings resulted from improvements in occupant health, lower energy bills and less unemployment benefits having to be paid.
Installing insulation can help reduce mortality among the elderly during heat waves, according to new medical research from the French Institute of Public Health Surveillance. Researchers investigated the causes of thousands of excess deaths during a severe heat wave that hit France in August 2003. They found that 35% of the sample died of heat related factors. The report identified that a lack of thermal building insulation was a main risk factor associated with the deaths of elderly people.