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Energy poverty in recent publications

Energy Poverty Advisory Hub Handbooks

The Energy Poverty Advisory Hub (EPAH) Handbooks are a series of practical guidebooks targeting energy poverty, energy transition, and energy efficiency, all with a socially just perspective. The guidebooks are mainly for the local governments and practitioners in the sector. There will be four handbooks in total: (1) Introduction, (2) Assessment of energy poverty at an identified local level (diagnosis), (3) Development of an informed plan (planning), and (4) Execution of an impactful energy poverty project (implementation).

 

First of four EPAH publications is out

The first handbook, the Introduction to the Energy Poverty Advisory Hub (EPAH) Handbooks: A Guide to Understanding and Addressing Energy Poverty, is aiming to "present the concept of energy poverty with the different approaches that can be useful for obtaining a general picture of energy poverty in your local government as well as the initial introduction to the methodology to tackle energy poverty".

Thematic sections

The handbook introduces the reader to two main thematic sections:

Causes of energy poverty

The Handbook states there are three main causes of energy poverty:

Low income level: Low income can result from low salary, job insecurity, unemployment, low social protection or a combination of these. The most affected people here are the most vulnerable ones, such as single parents, people with disabilities, or people of older age.

Low household energy efficiency and energy performance of buildings: Poor quality houses and appliances, old heating systems, lack of insulation and many more are all factors influencing the quality of living and the price of energy. Moreover, many times it is hard for tenants/homeowners to improve these factors as their options are limited either financially or from the side of the landlord.

High energy prices: Prices of energy are easily influenced by external factors such as socio-political-technical systems, natural events, and climate change policies and measures, which can make certain groups of people more vulnerable than others.

Vulnerability factors

The handbook lists vulnerability factors that refer to groups of people who are at higher risk of falling into the energy poverty trap:


Energy Poverty Handbook, 2nd edition

 

In September 2022, the second edition of the Energy Poverty Handbook has been released. In the foreword, Keilani Farha, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing, stated that this year, the topic of housing has been challenged by the extreme heatwaves, COVID-19 pandemic, extreme increase not only in the cost of living but also construction materials, and lastly, the expected rise of energy costs by 30% as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. All these factors impact us all, but those suffering the most are low-income households and vulnerable groups of people. The increase in expanses “leaves many to choose between heating one’s home, turning on lights, or paying for rent or food” (p.6). Keilani calls governments and municipalities to action, noting that the energy poverty crisis is a crisis of human rights.

The handbook consists of 22 articles from organisations engaged in climate and social spheres, poverty, housing, clean energy transition, organisations working with municipalities and citizen cooperatives, and energy agencies, to name a few.

The handbook is divided into three thematic parts:


Meanwhile, check the most recent publication of the Residential Energy Efficiency (REE) Observatory in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), which also covers topics such as energy poverty, energy efficiency, multi-apartment buildings and many more, here.

 

Motivated by the vision of the world where energy poverty has no place, the leading EU initiative “Energy Poverty Advisory Hub” (EPAH), seeks to become the center of experience and expertise in Europe. EPAH will support civil society organizations (CSOs) and local authorities by building a collaborative network of all stakeholders interested in combatting energy poverty in Europe.

How did EPAH come to be?

EPAH is the successor of the former Energy Poverty Observatory (EPOV). Starting in 2016, the EPOV lasted for 40 months during which it produced numerous publications on successfully implemented measures, current state of EU and national policies and the first methodology guidebook of energy poverty indicators.

 

On its way of transforming to a new initiative EPAH, it has more than 200 inspirational cases during extensive research period in 2021.

All of these examples, including Habitat for Humanity's projects REELIH and ComAct, are now integrated in this online interactive database, the so called EPAH ATLAS.

 

In addition, the EPAH has launched the report “Tackling energy poverty through local actions – Inspiring cases from across Europe”, in which it showcases 24 successful projects from the EU that handle energy poverty in different ways and on different levels, but all with successful results.

This compilation shows the strength of an already existing network of energy poverty knowledge and experience, and it is a great honor for REELIH to be featured as one of the 24 cases displaying the best practices!

As the Report highlights, REELIH project tackles the effects of climate change and energy poverty. It improves the health and quality of life of low-income homeowners living in multi-apartment buildings in Central and Eastern Europe. It helps to establish and develop an investment market for retrofitting to secure the financial and political support. While doing so, it aims to place increased focus on improving existing buildings by working with the local communities.

EPAH Launch Event 2021

To commence the knowledge transfer and sharing of good practices among the key stakeholders, and to celebrate its very birth, the EPAH organized an online Launch Event 2021, that took place on November 22-23, 2021.  It hosted prominent speakers, who spoke on the present and future of energy poverty action in the EU. Speakers engaged in high-level presentations, interactive debates and workshops.

Representing one of the 24 cases showcased in the report on Tackling energy poverty through local actions, the REELIH team was invited to participate at the Launch Event as well. On behalf of Habitat for Humanity International, Zita Kakalejcikova, Manager of Residential Energy Programs (CEE/CIS) took part in the workshop. She presented about the REELIH project during the workshop on “Inspiring case studies on energy poverty mitigation”.

She was joined by fellows Cecilia Foronda from Ecodes presenting about the “Barrio Solar” project in Spain; Marlene Potthoff from Caritas presenting about the Stromspar-Check Aktiv project in Germany, and Marina Varvesi from AISFOR, presenting about the “ASSIST – Support Network for Household Energy Saving” project in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Finland, UK and Poland.


If you want to find out more about these inspirational projects that usefully mitigate energy poverty in Europe, watch the recording of the event here.

For accessing all of the recordings from the EPAH Launch Event browse through this webpage.

 

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