Energy poverty at building level & policy recommendations

Energy poverty at building level & policy recommendations

Energy poverty is defined in the 2023 Social Climate Fund regulation1 and in the revised Energy Efficiency Directive as “a household’s lack of access to essential energy services that provide basic levels and decent standards of living and health, including adequate heating, hot water, cooling, lighting, and energy to power appliances, in the relevant national context, existing social policy another relevant policies, caused by a combination of factors, including but not limited to non-affordability, insufficient disposable income, high energy expenditure and poor energy efficiency of homes”. The focus of this definition is on households.

In the context of owner-occupied multi-apartment buildings, building level energy poverty is based on the fact that fighting against energy poverty on household level is impossible without technical improvements of the energy efficiency of homes. In case these homes are part of multifamily apartment buildings, owned by private owners organised in home-owner associations, the interventions have to be implemented on building level. In many European countries, policymakers realised the importance of financial support for energy efficiency measures for this housing
segment, and created mainstream support schemes to encourage the energy efficient renovation of privately owned residential buildings. Nevertheless, a significant share of building owners lack access to such funding.

Acknowledging this fact, we define privately owned multi-family apartment buildings as energy poor, when they do not provide proper energy comfort for their residents as they are unable to benefit from mainstream energy renovation subsidy schemes. In the ComAct project we experienced that even if there are generous subsidies for energy efficient renovation of privately owned multi-family apartment buildings (like in Bulgaria or Lithuania), several homeowner
associations are not able to join these programmes. Not only home-owner associations that have a high share of low-income families, but equally those who are disorganised and cannot achieve the necessary internal consensus to make legally binding decisions.

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