One of our CAN-partners, Brest métropole, moved Energy Poverty in Europe into the spotlight by hosting a two-day conference around the topic in June. It offered the opportunity to share valuable expert insights and experiences about how to tackle energy poverty at European, national and local levels. Helen Stockton, EPOV1, pointed out that while there is no definition of energy poverty, yet, mainly three factors contribute to this socio-technical problem: high energy costs, inefficient homes and low household incomes.
Within the EU, there are several programmes working towards a greener, carbon-free European future. One of them is the Interreg North-West Europes' low carbon priority line, which is enabling our Climate Active Neighbourhoods project (CAN). The connection of energy poverty and its effects on health and wellbeing is also taken into account by our project-partners. For example, in the UK, the Hastings Borough Council observed excess winter deaths, respiratory illness and mental health issues, which were induced by living in cold homes. The “warm home check service” provides advice on keeping homes warm in winter, but also grants are being offered to deliver small or major heating and insulation measures.
During our partner-meeting three of the CAN project-partners presented their interim results of their activities and outputs so far. In Plymouth the 300 “Home Energy Expert”-visits induced savings of estimated 300 EUR of energy costs per household and 813 kg CO2. In Hastings 74 homes were retrofitted and a group of 100 homes have been targeted with a consumer behaviour change programme by testing five different approaches. In Brest over 150 energy visits to households led to 80 EUR saving per year and decreased energy consumption by 900 kWh. Additionally, measurements showed the link between energy poverty and health by testing the humidity rates, the air quality and the number of households reporting health issues.
Overall, nearly all of the project-partners are approaching households and motivating inhabitants to become more aware of their own energy consumption and finding solutions on energy saving together, tailored to their needs.