Why keeping Queenslanders and other Aussie homes warm in winter is vital for good health

Why keeping Queenslanders and other Aussie homes warm in winter is vital for good health

Many Australians are shivering through each winter unaware of the impacts cold homes have on their health.

From Queenslanders on stilts, often described as wooden tents, to draughty cottages in the southern states, there are many different reasons houses in the country are not keeping out the chill, according to the University of Adelaide’s Lyrian Daniel.

A researcher at the university’s Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning, Dr Daniel said Australians saw themselves as a summer country.

“We’re so geared towards thinking about summer and heatwaves that really we almost forget about winter,” she said.

“It’s almost incidental, so we don’t prepare properly.

“Many of the things we do to make our houses lovely and breezy and cool in summer are pretty hopeless in winter.

She said some of problems created by cold housing were “particularly acute in mild climates like Queensland, and even here in Adelaide, because the winters aren’t too bad, so we haven’t had to design really, really well-performing buildings”.

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Why keeping Queenslanders and other Aussie homes warm in winter is vital for good health

Green homes and buildings are cheaper to run and sell for more, experts say(Stephanie Chalmers)

It may come at a cost, but Dr Daniel said there were some ways homeowners could make homes cosier during the winter months.

“It really depends on the house but, for example, in the old Queenslanders you might be able to put some ceiling insulation if there’s not some already there, some blow-in insulation in the walls, and really insulating that floor as well,” she said.

“In winter, we want to try and fill up all of those gaps so that any heat we are putting into the space from an air-conditioning unit or gas heater is going to stay in that space and not just leak out.”

Failing to reach minimum home temperature 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined a minimum indoor housing temperature for temperate or colder climates to maintain good health.

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