Theage.com.au has reported (11/06/2015) on a study that shows that many preventable deaths from the cold in Australia are due to the poor quality of our housing. According to a new study published in The Lancet, cold contributed to 6.5 per cent of deaths

News posted on 10.06.2015
Theage.com.au has reported (11/06/2015) on a study that shows that many preventable deaths from the cold in Australia are due to the poor quality of our housing. According to a new study published in The Lancet, cold contributed to 6.5 per cent of deaths in Australia compared to only 3.9 per cent in Sweden. It also revealed that cold weather claimed more lives than hot weather in Australia. The fact that more people are dying due to the cold in Australia's relatively mild winters compared to Sweden's below-zero ones comes down to the quality of the housing. 
Professor Adrian Barnett from Queensland University of Technology said that Australians are exposed to much lower temperatures than the Scandinavians as our homes are nothing more than "glorified tents". 
Victoria's housing stock averages at 2 stars or below which is equivalent to having a window open the whole time. Victorians are spending more money and using more energy to keep their homes liveable.
 For many vulnerable and low income Victorians, heating a home that is poorly insulated is unaffordable, leaving them to live in chronic cold conditions. Cutting the wasted heat leaking out of doors and windows could make a big difference given that the residential sector contributes nearly 20 per cent of our greenhouse emissions every year. Spending $5000 on basic energy-saving measures is a good place to start. 
Look at ceiling insulation, seal draughts, use thick curtains and switch to efficient lighting. Usually a comprehensive retrofit can usually pay for itself in bill savings in five to seven years. 
Unfortunately low-income households or renters miss out on the benefits of a warm and cosy home. There are encouraging signs that the new Andrews government is committed to substantial energy efficiency policy but it needs to include practical assistance to low-income households. 
Future Powered Families program by Environment Victoria helps low-income families make no to low cost energy saving changes to their homes. Many initiatives such as these are supported by the government's Low Income Energy Efficiency Program which is not going to continue after June 2016. 
Our high death rate due to cold weather is a wake-up call and it is time for the government to fund successful retrofit and energy efficiency initiatives.