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Portugal’s poorly insulated homes waste energy

Published on 20/02/2019

There are three countries in Eastern Europe are worse off than Portugal when it comes to energy poverty, according to a European study that evaluated the ability of households to keep their homes at comfortable temperatures and pay the energy bills.

Using Eurostat data, the Coalition for the Right to Energy, to which Portugal’s ZERO association belongs, concluded that there are 41 million households in the 28 European Union countries that can not be heated in winter and 91 million they can not be cooled in the summer.

ZERO points the finger at the “inaction of policy makers,” calling for “a European programme to improve thermal insulation and energy efficiency of buildings,” so that energy bills fall.

Portugal, classified in the ranking as, “very high” is one of the worst European countries in terms of energy poverty, “because of low incomes, inefficient buildings without insulation and with single glazed windows, inefficient equipment such as fireplaces and individual heaters,” says ZERO.

“High costs” mean that little energy is expended to heat and cool houses, the association says, calling on the government to pledge, “simplified support to safeguard people in the most vulnerable socio-economic conditions.”

Even worse off than Portugal are Slovenia, Hungary and Bulgaria with Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Austria having the best rankings.

In homes where a comfortable temperature can not be attained, people live with, higher levels of stress and anxiety and health complications are amplified.

Small children living in cold and humid homes are more than twice as likely to suffer from respiratory problems and have a 40% chance of suffering from asthma, the study reports.

Also of deep concern is that the lack of decent heating systems is 40% of the uplift in the death rate during the winter.

There are problems in the summertime too, “as higher temperatures are expected to be more frequent, the scale of the European Union’s population affected by summer energy poverty is expected to rise dramatically.”