- Publication date
- 19 May 2022
- Directorate-General for Energy
Climate change mitigation, the economy’s decarbonisation, and energy poverty reduction are major challenges globally and for the European Union. However, competing agendas might create trade-off situations that hinder the achievement of these goals. Energy efficiency promotion in the residential sector, through the replacement of space heating and cooling equipment, can be an important solution to simultaneously contribute to reducing energy poverty and carbon emissions whilst improving households’ comfort and wellbeing.
This paper analyses the regional impact of replacing space heating and cooling equipment on energy poverty levels in the population using the Energy Poverty Vulnerability Index. Moreover, the impact on carbon emissions is also investigated. Results show that increasing equipment efficiency to regulation levels is only effective in reducing winter energy poverty, with a decrease in municipal vulnerability levels of about 18 per cent. Implementing a “deep change” in the heating and cooling equipment stock is significantly effective for reducing winter and summer energy poverty, respectively, 47.8 per cent and 26.3 per cent in average municipal levels, while significantly decreasing potential carbon dioxide emissions by 3554 kilotons. This transformation should be coupled with the improvement of buildings’ energy performance and presents various significant challenges regarding financial investment and social justice that should be addressed by authorities at different scales.
This study demonstrates the relevance of exploring the impact of space heating and cooling equipment replacement measures on energy poverty, efficiency and carbon emissions at the regional level while providing a replicable method for investigating this subject and producing valuable insights into other geographical contexts.
Authors: Pedro Palma, João Pedro Gouveia, Katherine Mahoney, Salomé Bessa