Slow progress on energy efficiency is undermining efforts to achieve SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) targets. Energy efficiency improvements, such as insulation and retrofits, help reduce energy expenditure and increase the affordability of energy in poorer households.
While the Irish government has introduced measures to promote domestic energy efficiency to support lower-income households, many of these measures require additional capital investment by households. Even where additional capital investment is not needed, there is limited uptake among lower-income and low disposable income households due to lack of accessible information, ineligibility, or competing priorities.
Researchers from UCC and North Dublin MABS (Money Advice and Budgeting Service) explored the barriers and enablers to greater energy efficiency in households with low disposable income. The findings demonstrate a strong awareness of, and an active approach to, reducing household energy, but very low levels of participation in energy retrofit schemes, even among those who qualified for free upgrades.
The research concludes that greater household-level face-to-face advice and support on improving energy efficiencies for low income/low disposable income households is needed and that charities can operate effectively in this space.
With thanks to the Irish Research Council for their support in funding this very important and timely research.