The short-term health and psychosocial impacts of domestic energy efficiency investments in low-income areas: a controlled before and after study
January 2017 | Charlotte N. B. Grey, Shiyu Jiang, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University. Christina Nascimento, School of Social Sciences, Cardiff University. Sarah E. Rodgers, Rhodri Johnson, Ronan A. Lyons, Farr Institute, Swansea University Medical School, Swansea University. Wouter Poortinga, Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University & School of Psychology, Cardiff University
Research suggests that living in fuel poverty and cold homes contributes to poor physical and mental health, and that interventions targeted at those living in poor quality housing may lead to health improvements. However, little is known about the socio-economic intermediaries and processes that contribute to better health. This study examined the relationship between energy efficiency investments to homes in low-income areas and mental and physical health of residents, as well as a number of psychosocial outcomes likely to be part of the complex relationship between energy efficiency measures and health outcomes. A quasi-experimental field study with a controlled pretest-posttest design was conducted (intervention n= 364; control n= 418) to investigate the short-term health and psychosocial impacts of a domestic energy efficiency programme that took place across Wales between 2013 and 2015.
December 2016 | Aimee Ambrose, Lindsey McCarthy, James Pinder
This research sought to afford tenants a voice in the urgent debate about energy (in) efficiency in the private rented sector. This was primarily achieved through 48 in-depth interviews with tenants in Hackney and Rotherham. It was revealed that tenants face considerable barriers to seeking help with cold homes that are unaffordable to heat.
October 2016 | Dr Keith Baker & Ron Mould, Glasgow Caledonian University and Scott Restrick, Energy Action Scotland
The Scottish Government’s statistics now show that rural households spend more on energy to heat their homes than urban equivalents. However, research conducted by the project team using data from households in Renfrewshire has found this ‘energy spend gap’ is more significant than those statistics suggest, whilst other research has shown that influences on the energy spend of rural households are also highly multi-facted. The Speird Project validates and significantly expands on these findings across five areas of Scotland. The findings provide new evidence on the extent and segmentation of fuel poverty in Scotland – uncovering the ‘hidden geographies’ of fuel poverty across rural areas and the islands.
October 2016 | Nicky Hodges, Simon Roberts, Karen Smith, Toby Bridgeman, Nick Banks, Molly Asher
Prepayment (PPM) customers are known to be poorly served by the energy market, paying higher tariffs, having difficulty switching tariff and/or supplier and being at risk of self-disconnection. Numbers of PPM customers are rising (due to debt recovery) and there has been an early focus on PPM customers through the smart meter rollout.
This research will provide an early-stage snapshot of the impact of smart meter technology on PPM households. It will examine industry-wide statistical trends, and combine customer interviews with analysis of customer data to ascertain the extent to which benefits claimed from smart PPM (real-time data, flexible top-up options, greater control and reduced bills) are being realised and if benefits outweigh negatives (e.g. higher tariffs).
September 2016 | Stefan Bouzarovski and Jenni Cauvain
Homes in multiple occupancy (HMOs) – residential properties containing common areas shared by several households – are a growing feature of the housing landscape across the UK. They have often been subject to political stigmatization as a result, in part, of comprising poor quality dwellings. This paper uses a “spaces of exception” framework to explore the juridical and material mechanisms involved in the rise of fuel poverty among people living in HMOs.
Procedural justice and the implementation of community wind energy projects: a case study from South Yorkshire
September 2016 | Neil Simcock, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester
In policy and activist discourses there is often an expectation that community wind energy projects will avoid the conflicts and local opposition often associated with private-developer-led developments. However, the empirical validity of this assertion has not been widely investigated. In previous research on private-developer wind projects, the fairness of decision-making processes (‘procedural justice’) during project implementation has been identified as an important factor in shaping local acceptance, but has not been deeply studied in relation to community-led schemes. Using in-depth qualitative research of a proposed community wind project in South Yorkshire, this paper examines stakeholder interpretations of procedural justice during the design and siting of this scheme.
September 2016 | Report by NEA
BREDEM modelling of Thirteen’s 5 most commonly visited property types was performed, to compare modelled energy with expected energy need, and to assess optimal energy saving and cost effective improvement. Stakeholder interviews were carried out to assess the benefits of the project, and capture participant views on policy / legislation for tackling fuel poverty were explored.
August 2016 | Author: National Housing Federation
The National Housing Federation used data from the English Housing Survey to compare HA homes with private rented, local authority and owner occupied stock, examining the state of repair, accessibility, neighbourhood and energy efficiency.
Energy demand for everyday mobility and domestic life: Exploring the justice implications – introduction to Special Issue
August 2016 | Authors: Neil Simcock, Caroline Mullen
In this lead article for a Special Issue on ‘Energy demand for mobility and domestic life: new insights from energy justice’, we begin by outlining the many interlocking issues of (in)justice raised by energy consumption for mobility and domestic services, identifying gaps in the current literature. We then describe the articles within the Special Issue, discussing these in relation to three themes: uneven access to energy and transport services; the unequal burdens of low-carbon policies; and reducing energy demand and the good society. We conclude by highlighting potential directions for future research; for example, conceptualising ‘excessive’ consumption as an issue of (in)justice, and identifying low-energy social practices and arrangements that simultaneously contribute to human well-being.
Evaluation and comparison of two off gas grid communities – with air source heat pumps and gas main extension
August 2016 | NEA
Two communities were selected which contained a high proportion of people who are retired or on state benefits due to ill health, low income etc. so are at higher risk of fuel poverty: Dovecote Close, Yarwell, Peterborough; a rural area with no prospect of connection to mains gas, which had air-source heat pumps (ASHPs) installed, Oct 2014 to Jan 2015, and King George’s Court, Stainforth near Doncaster; a suburban community where gas mains were extended to provide homes with gas central heating, in March 2015. This report compares the costs – both for residents and installation – temperatures achieved, levels of resident control and satisfaction, and carbon savings by the two systems.