‘ENERGISE: Enhancing the transition to energy citizenship’

27 Jan 2022

In this timely seminar, Dr. Olive McCarthy (Centre for Co-operative Studies, UCC) and Gwen Harris (North Dublin Money Advice and Budgeting Service - MABS) reported on the initial findings from the IRC-funded ENERGISE project, which explores energy poverty and the barriers/enablers to energy efficiency in low-income homes.

Financial costs continue to be a significant barrier to the introduction of energy-saving changes. It was noted that while measures have been introduced by the government to promote domestic energy efficiency in lower income homes, many of these measures require additional capital investment by households. In a survey conducted with North Dublin MABS clients, half of the respondents said that they were unlikely to invest in energy-saving measures (such as retrofits), with the vast majority (90%) of these identifying financial costs as a barrier. Other barriers included uncertainty about the benefits of retrofits, lack of information, the grant application process, and the ownership status of the home - in some instances landlords are unwilling to make changes to rented properties. Nonetheless, there was considerable interest in introducing energy saving measures amongst those surveyed. In terms of the supports required, survey respondents identified the need for more grant aid; one-to-one advice; more information on the benefits; and more information on energy saving activities. 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. Community Energy Advisors in local areas could play an important role in reaching out to local estates and households.

The seminar was hosted by the ISS21 Research for Civil Society and Social Action (REACT) Cluster and chaired by Dr Angela Flynn. 

A recording of the seminar is available here 

Gwen Harris (top) and Dr. Olive McCarthy

For more on this story contact:

Dr Margaret Scanlon, ISS21 Research Coordinator, 

Institute for Social Science in the 21st Century (ISS21)

Top Floor, Carrigbawn/Safari Building, Donovan Road, Cork, T12 YE30