Tackling fuel poverty with building renovation

Panel: 6. Policies and programmes towards a zero-energy building stock

This is a peer-reviewed paper.

Eleni Kontonasiou, Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), Belgium
Bogdan Atanasiu, Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), Belgium
Francesco Mariottini, Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE), Belgium


In 2013 in the EU, 10.8% of the total population and 24.1% of people with low income were unable to keep their home adequately warm. As indicators of fuel poverty, these numbers reveal the severity of the problem at EU level. In order to tackle fuel poverty it is vital to define it, establish the appropriate measurements, and put in place sustainable and effective policies. To this end, this paper provides comprehensive information regarding the extent of fuel poverty in the EU, presents the various definitions used, assesses potential measures to alleviate its impact, and outlines the role of energy efficiency in buildings in tackling the problem. Specifically, based on current approaches in defining and identifying energy/fuel poverty and on statistical data, the extent of the problem and its grave impacts in EU countries are assessed. Furthermore, measures taken to combat fuel poverty are analysed and we argue that the implementation of energy efficiency measures in fuel poor houses is the only sustainable solution to the problem. To this end, we analyse and present the social, environmental, and financial results of energy efficiency programs in fuel poor households. Moreover, we study how fuel poverty measures are funded by presenting case studies from Greece and the UK. The results show that energy efficiency measures receive the lowest budget compared to fuel/heating support schemes despite that they additionally contribute to economic growth and social inclusion, and that financial tools such as EU cohesion funds are available. The findings of our research offer insight into the fuel poverty problem and the role of energy efficiency in buildings as a sustainable solution that addresses the problem at its roots. A more accurate and consistent definition would allow us to determine the extent of the problem, while a long-term strategy would significantly contribute to alleviate it. Last but foremost, there is an imperative need of gradually shifting part of national and EU budget from income support schemes and fuel subsidies to more active and effective renovation measures.


Download this presentation as pdf: 6-147-15_Kontonasiou_pre.pdf

Download this paper as pdf: 6-147-15_Kontonasiou.pdf