Australian housing not designed for our climate
Australian housing is built to relatively poor minimum thermal performance standards. These provisions, once considered progressive, have not been significantly enhanced for the past decade. The standards are unlikely to be meaningfully revised until 2022 at the earliest.
Once housing is built, there are no mandatory compliance checks for quality, insulation or warmth in either the owner-occupier or rental sectors.
Due to the of lack reliable, systematic and publicly available data about cold houses in Australia. Its hard to track and make visible the extent of the problem.
Realistically, most of us can do something about cold houses. We can, for example, spend more on power, fit solar panels, install insulation, or buy (or rent) well-designed warm houses.
For people who are unable to take these steps, the cold house phenomenon bites hard. It may be because their houses are not designed to stay warm in winter and they cannot afford improvements. They may be in a rental tenancy where the landlord is unwilling to complete upgrades, or heating costs may just be too high.
Whatever the reason, exposure to cold living environments has a well-documented range of health effects. These include cardiovascular disease, respiratory illness and communicable diseases.