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    Sunday, March 04, 2007

    Drafty Old Castles..... ....are not good for you:

    Insulation led to a significant increase in indoor temperature and a drop in relative humidity.

    People in the insulated properties reported that their houses felt significantly less damp and mouldy, were less likely to suffer from wheezing or colds, and spent less on heating their houses. Adults and children in insulated houses were half as likely to take days off work or school than those in houses without insulation.

    The study was done in New Zealand, where the winters evidently are mild:

    Winter in both years was broadly comparable. Mean daytime temperatures were 10.5ºC and 11.3ºC in 2001 and 2002.

    That's about 50-52 degrees Farenheit. Around here, we open the windows and let the breeze in when it gets that warm. We think it's healthier. Are we wrong? The people who received insulation, did report being happier, but maybe they were just happy to have someone fixing up their homes.

    posted by Sydney on 3/04/2007 08:01:00 PM 2 comments


    I think you are underestimating what 50 degrees is like in the main parts of NZ where this is done (Auckland and Wellington). Both are damp. (Auckland is very damp), and winter consists of frequent cold, heavy rains. Most people heat with an electric heater (and yes, I mean one). Air conditioning is generally not used. (I live further sourth where it drops to 5 degrees and I'm warmer, as heat pumps are becoming standard.)

    In most of these houses you would have to wear at least two thermal layers to be warm.

    The paper is an extension on work initially done in meningitis, where decreasing the overcrowding in houses (15-20 people in a 3 bedroom bouse) led to improvement in incidence. (Meningitis was unheard of in NZ when I was at medical school. It is now endemic. Insulation (which also decreases drafts) seems to help respiratory disorders: I think it is not merely the temperature.

    (disclosure: I deliberately bought a house built after insulation was mandatory)


    By Anonymous pukeko, at 1:14 AM  

    Not only is New Zealand damp in the winter (and don't let those daytime temperatures deceive you, overnight in many places it drops below 0 C -- 16 F), but there is NO concern about mould in New Zealand. I have seen what happens when mould grows in a US house -- the fumigators are called in and the affected area of the house is often stripped to remove any trace of the spores. In New Zealand mould (which has been indicated in respiratory conditions) grows often unhindered, and is certainly not considered a health threat.

    By Blogger Placebogirl, at 8:32 AM  

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