The weather may still be relatively mild, but there’s no doubt that winter is just around the corner and for many older people, this is a huge worry. Age UK’s new research has found that 1 in 3 older people are concerned about keeping their home adequately warm this coming winter, and 70 per cent of older people are concerned about the high cost of energy.
THE OLDEST HOUSES IN THE EU
Sadly, it’s the same story every year: rising energy bills, winter health problems and excess winter deaths. Every winter, 25,000 older people in England and Wales don’t survive the cold weather – that’s 206 deaths a day, or one death every seven minutes. Why is this? Because we live in cold homes.
The UK has the oldest houses in the EU, which over half built before 1960. On average, older UK homes require at least twice the energy to stay warm compared with many much colder European countries.
So what can we do about it?
Age UK has today launched its campaign for warm homes, which is calling on the Government to make millions of homes much more energy efficient. We believe that an ambitious energy efficiency programme to bring all our housing up to standard is the only sensible and long-term solution to fuel poverty and excess winter deaths.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY IS THE SOLUTION
This means upgrading 2 million low income households with an energy performance rating of D, E, F or G to Band C by 2020, and upgrading all houses to an A or B rating (like today’s newly built housing) by 2030, starting with the poorest and most energy inefficient homes.
We’re calling on the Government to drive forward a major energy efficiency programme, which should be area-based and locally driven, targeting the poorest and most energy inefficient homes first.
We also want local authorities and Health and Wellbeing Boards to take action to reduce the risk of death and ill health associated with living in a cold home