InventAir: Inventories of energy poverty to support clean air policies in Eastern European countries
Ina Karova, EAP
The project aims to explore the multiple environmental and climate impacts of energy poverty by focusing on the development and implementation of clean air and energy poverty policies in Eastern European countries (EEC). In the long term, the project will help shape local, national and EU policies and actions for tackling energy poverty and air pollution by raising public awareness and highlighting the link between inefficient heating practices among energy-poor households and rapid air pollution in their communities.
Although energy poverty is spreading rapidly across the European Union, it has distinct specificities in Eastern European countries: low-income households cannot afford to change old, inefficient heating equipment or replace poor quality heating fuels. Thus, they become the primary cause of a dramatic seasonal increase in air pollution in their communities. The lack of precise data on the quantities and quality of the fuels used makes it difficult to estimate environmental, climate and health impacts. InventAir will address the problem by developing a methodological framework for making an inventory of energy poverty and transferring know-how and experience to develop municipal woodstove changeout roadmaps as effective policy tools to abate energy poverty and reduce pollutant emissions across the EU.
Clean heat for your home, clean air for the community; Photo: Ina Karova, EAP
Both in Bulgaria and Slovenia, energy poverty is closely related to the inability of households to afford to keep their homes adequately warm. Low-income households not only live in poor housing conditions but also heat their homes using low-quality wood and coal in primitive stoves that are available on the market due to a lack of standards and regulations. They are a major cause of air pollution inside homes and in the surrounding communities. The issue can be addressed through adequate municipal planning with joint measures to alleviate energy poverty and strengthen air quality policies.
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.