Proiseact Spéird – The Spéird Project: Understanding Influences on Fuel Poverty in Rural and Island Scotland

Author: Dr Keith Baker
Organisation:
Glasgow Caledonian University
Energy Action Scotland
Date: 2016
Location: Scotland

Tackling fuel poverty is a national agenda for both the UK and the devolved Scottish governments. However, current policies are based on assumptions largely derived from urban settings. Furthermore, economies of scale have made energy efficiency schemes more attractive to deliver in large conurbations than in dispersed settlements, which characterise rural areas. Early research has indicated that this is disadvantaging households in rural Scotland, but more detailed data would clarify the position and enable more nuanced policy decisions.

Smart Prepayment and Fuel Poverty

Author: Nicky Hodges
Organisation:
Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE)
Date: 2016
Location: UK

Prepayment meters (PPMs) have traditionally been installed in low-income households and those that have previously incurred arrears or defaulted on their energy bills. However, PPM users have often faced higher charges for energy, as well as a reduced ability to switch supplier and access incentivised payment methods such as direct debit. In 2016, the Competitions and Markets Authority imposed a settlement on energy companies to introduce a fairer approach.  

Identifying the Fair Share: Metering and Billing for District Heating – Research into Social Landlords’ Experiences of District Heating

Author: Changeworks Resources for Life Ltd
Organisation:
Changeworks Resources for Life Ltd
Date: 2015

The introduction of the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 meant that owners of properties operating district heating schemes were subject to new obligations.

Identifying the Fair Share: Metering and Billing for District Heating – Research into Social Landlords’ Experiences of District Heating

Author: Tessa Clark
Organisation:
Changeworks Resources for Life Ltd
Date: 2015
Location: Scotland

The introduction of the Heat Network (Metering and Billing) Regulations 2014 meant that owners of properties operating district heating schemes were subject to new obligations. It has been assumed that such schemes deliver benefits to residents through reduced energy consumption and lower bills, thus helping to alleviate fuel poverty, but the actual dynamics of tenants’ awareness, knowledge and engagement with the practical and financial aspects of these systems are not fully understood.

Using Solar PV to Tackle Fuel Poverty

Author: Changeworks
Date: 2014
Location: UK

The use of photovoltaic (PV) systems in domestic properties boomed after the introduction of the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) in 2010. The deployment of solar technologies should see a decline in energy users’ fuel costs (and thus fuel poverty), while property owners (including landlords) should benefit from the income generated by the FIT. The wider context of rising fuel poverty acts as a spur to implement the energy efficiency measures with the greatest impact on consumption.

Fuel Poverty and Energy Behaviours: Does a Post-boiler Upgrade Intervention Increase Energy Efficiency?

Author: Karen Smith
Organisation:
University of the West of England
Date: 2014
Location: England

Domestic energy consumption continues to generate a significant proportion of the UK’s carbon emissions. Since the start of the century, considerable investment has been made in increasing household energy efficiency and promoting energy conservation. Despite this, emissions from gas heating sources remain unchanged, and energy consumption is rising in some areas.

Effect of Improved Home Ventilation on Asthma Control and House Dust Mite Allergen Levels

Author: Dr Stirling Howieson
Organisation:
University of Strathclyde
Date: 2013
Location: UK

The number of better insulated, warmer and more humid homes has increased substantially over the past few decades in developed nations. At the same time, growing levels of asthma have been identified among their populations. It is known that allergens produced by domestic dust mites are a contributory factor to asthma and that these mites thrive in warm and humid environments. As a consequence, solutions to minimise mite levels while retaining warmth would have valuable health benefits.

Evaluation of Solid Wall Insulation in Fuel Poor Households in the Private Sector

Author: Nick Banks
Organisation:
Centre for Sustainable Energy
Date: 2012
Location: England

Although solid wall insulation (SWI) is known to have a positive impact on domestic energy efficiency, its installation is technically demanding and, in practice, disruptive to residents. The introduction of the national ‘Green Deal’ and Energy Company Obligation schemes from 2012 brought significant emphasis on the installation of energy efficiency measures in domestic properties, particularly where the household was at risk of fuel poverty or the building was eligible for improvement.

The Role of Microgeneration Technologies in Alleviating Fuel Poverty

Author: Fin O’Flaherty
Organisation:
Sheffield Hallam University
Date: 2011
Location: England

To date, government initiatives aimed at tackling rising levels of fuel poverty have largely focused on managing household demand by reducing consumption through improving the energy performance of domestic properties (e.g. grants for insulation) or offsetting costs (e.g. Winter Fuel Payments). Less attention has been paid to how household power generation can play a part in addressing the issue.

Warm for Life – An Investigation into the Effectiveness of the Winter Fuel Payment System as a Means of Tackling Fuel Poverty and the Delivery of an ‘Invest to Save’ Winter Fuel Payments Pilot Project

Author: Norwich City Council and National Energy Action (NEA)
Date: 2010
Location: England

The Winter Fuel Payment is a universal payment made to all UK households where the primary occupant is over 60 years of age. Introduced in 1997, it is intended to offset the cost of domestic heating for older people and thereby reduce the risk of fuel poverty and attendant impacts on health in this section of the population. However, as a non-means-tested benefit, it is available to more affluent households who have no need of the supplement.

How Much? The Cost of Alleviating Fuel Poverty

Author: Ian Preston
Organisation:
Centre for Sustainable Energy
Association for the Conservation of Energy (ACE).
Date: 2008
Location: UK

Tackling fuel poverty requires significant capital investment, but it is also important to ensure that measures are directed at those who most need them in order to optimise the outcomes with regard to policy objectives. Understanding whether current delivery mechanisms are adequately funded and are effectively targeting fuel poor households is essential, not least because legal commitments exist to eliminate fuel poverty.

The Effect of the Affordable Warmth Programme on Internal Environmental Variables and Respiratory Health in a Vulnerable Group: A Randomised Trial

Author: Dr Liesl Osman
Organisation:
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen City Council
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Castlehill Housing Association
Date: 2007
Location: Scotland

Living in a poorly heated, damp home is known to place householders at risk of developing ill health. Those with pre-existing conditions, particularly respiratory illnesses, can experience aggravations of their symptoms and an increased likelihood of mortality. However, there is a paucity of information on the energy performance of the homes of such people and the exact relationship between their heating arrangements, health status and other variables. 

Seasonal Cold, Thermal Behaviour and Temperature Distributions in the Homes of Older People

Author: Dr James Goodwin
Organisation:
School of Health and Social Care
University of Teesside
Date: 2005
Location: UK

There is a significant gap in knowledge of the winter activities of older people, both inside and outside the home. This is despite the fact that previous research has recognised that many older people continue to live in fuel poverty and that excess winter deaths disproportionately affect this section of the population. Understanding the types and levels of activity and their relationships to warmth, heating systems and temperature (both inside and outside) has considerable importance not only for energy research and the energy sector, but also for health and social care.

Developing a Methodology to Evaluate the Outcome of Investment in Affordable Warmth

Author: Janet Rudge
Organisation:
Low Energy Architecture Research Unit
School of Architecture and Interior Design
University of North London
Date: 2001
Location: England

Cold homes are believed to be a significant factor in excess winter deaths recorded in the UK, and low internal and/or external temperatures are associated with ill health, but it has often been a challenge to demonstrate a causal link because of the complex variables involved and the prohibitive expense of dedicated research. It is often assumed that low-income households are at a high risk in this respect, being less able to afford to heat their homes or pay for improvements and more likely to live in properties in poor repair.

Housing and Health – The Cornwall Intervention Study

Author: James Bolt
Organisation:
South and West Devon Health Authority
Department of Public Health Medicine
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Health Authority
Date: 2000
Location: England

It is widely assumed that living in damp and draughty housing can seriously aggravate pre-existing health conditions, such as asthma. It is also expected that tackling such issues will lead to improved health among residents. However, to date very little research has been undertaken to determine if such measures do result in lower levels of morbidity. The new duties of partnership between local councils and health authorities also require greater coordination on issues such as housing and health, and establishing how to do this effectively is important. 

The Development of the Affordable Warmth Index

Author: National Energy Services Ltd
Organisation:
Co-funded by the Energy Saving Trust
Date: 1999

‘Affordable warmth’ is a term widely used in the energy sector, yet, given the wide variety of property types and sizes, incomes and locations, measuring what is affordable for a given household is a complex process.

The Relationship between Humidity, Fuel Poverty and Housing Conditions on Exacerbation, Symptoms and Lung Function of Patients with Moderate and Mild Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Author: Nic Hague
Organisation:
University of London
Date: 1998
Location: England

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a significant cause of ill health, hospitalisation and death in England and Wales. It is known that damp conditions in housing aggravate the symptoms of asthma sufferers owing to a greater volume of inhaled airborne allergens, but while the pathology of COPD is also largely concerned with disrupted lung function, it has a number of different underlying traits. It is known that the symptoms are worse the lower external and internal temperatures become. 

The Relationship between Indoor Humidity, Fuel Poverty and Housing Conditions on Exacerbation, Symptoms and Lung Function of Patients with Mild and Moderate Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Author: James Brown
Organisation:
University of London
Date: 1998
Location: England

It has long been known that there is a strong relationship between poor housing conditions and poor health outcomes. Householders in fuel poverty are more likely to be living in cold, draughty and/or damp homes, which are physically harder to heat and have unsatisfactory heating systems.

The Relationship between Indoor Humidity, Fuel Poverty and Housing Conditions on Exacerbation, Symptoms and Lung Function of Patients with Moderate and Severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Author: Roselle Herring
Organisation:
University of London
Date: 1998
Location: England

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a long-term degenerative condition that reduces the airflow into and out of the lungs. It remains a major challenge for health services; the level of mortality is far greater than that observed among asthma sufferers. Mortality among COPD patients is twice as high in summer as in winter, and the progression of the disease is much more rapid, suggesting the influence of seasonal effects.

Billsavers – Securing the Savings

Author: Lothian and Edinburgh Environmental Partnership
Date: 1996
Location: Scotland

Many low-income households are also in fuel poverty and fuel debt. They can often face the conundrum of needing to reduce the amount they spend on domestic energy while at the same time being unable to afford the cost of installations that would potentially achieve the necessary savings. However, if funding to carry out such work can be justified, this challenge may be overcome.

Lilybank – Tackling Fuel Poverty

Author: Ludmilla Kosmina
Organisation:
Heatwise Services
Alembic Research
Date: 1995
Location: Scotland

Large-scale retrofit programmes have occurred in social housing stock across the UK. Comprehensive modelling of the potential benefits to residents before work commences is important for our understanding of what are the optimal interventions under different conditions (such as building type and history, geographical location and residents’ socioeconomic status).

The Nottingham Energy, Health and Housing Study: A Demonstration Project to Reduce Humidity, House Dust Mites and Asthma

Author: Roger Critchley
Organisation:
Health and Housing Group National Energy Action Nottingham The Bartlett
University College London

A prevalence of dust mites and mould in domestic properties is known to aggravate the symptoms of asthma. Therefore, measures to alleviate the conditions that allow mites to thrive (e.g. high humidity) should have a beneficial impact on the health of asthmatics. Many energy efficiency interventions achieve this, although this is often an unplanned, albeit useful, side effect of work aimed at reducing energy consumption and wastage. Some interventions may even increase the problem: by reducing ventilation, for example.

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