Cooltorise: raising summer energy poverty awareness to reduce cooling needs
Eurostat data reveals that the 11% of the total population of the European Union is unable to keep their home adequately warm.
Caused by low household income, high energy bills, and low dwelling energy efficiency, energy poverty has traditionally been associated with the inability of households to meet their heating needs during winter. However, up to the 19% of households declared not being comfortably cool in summer. Nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005, with the last five years comprising the five hottest.
Climate change is increasing both the severity and frequency of extreme hot weather and heat waves, which negatively impacts human health and wellbeing. Thus, cooling needs and overheating risk need to be incorporated into the energy poverty equation.
THE PARTICIPANT COUNTRIES
Since September, 2021, a new H2020-funded project will perform targeted activities in 4 EU countries to raise awareness on summer energy poverty in order to stimulate a reduction in energy use during the hottest months of the year.
For three years, COOLTORISE will involve and work with stakeholders and vulnerable families. The project aims to reduce summer energy poverty incidence among European households improving their indoor thermal habitability conditions and reducing their energy needs during the hot season, which will decrease their exposure to heat and heat-related health risks.
First, heat exposure of energy poor households will be reduced by increasing indoor thermal conditions, which will decrease in their risk to suffer heat related diseases. Second, raising summer energy culture and preventing air conditioning devices to be installed can have serious benefits on climate change preventing future emissions.
Partners met online for the first time on 13-14-15 September to discuss the project’s first steps.
These include identification and recruitment of volunteers as summer energy poverty agents (SEPA) in the four pilot countries, and development of training materials for the first training events that are supposed to start in the Spring of 2022.
The training of SEPA is preparatory for the work to be done to support the households to manage their energy consumptions during the summer (especially during heat waves) and to increase their comfort level (cooler environment without increasing the energy consumption).
COOLTORISE aims to reduce summer energy poverty incidence among European households, improving their indoor thermal habitability conditions and reducing their energy needs during the hot season, which will in turn decrease their exposure to heat and heat-related health risks
In order to achieve this general objective, the project needs to address and achieve 6 important specific objectives:
Set a common framework on summer energy poverty
in European countries affected by it. From evidence and indicators collected in all participant countries, partners will draw a common methodology to identify the households suffering from energy poverty in the summer.
Define solutions to tackle summer energy poverty
The project will draft solutions to alleviate families’ housing deprivation suffered in summer. These solutions will comprise areas from optimal housing using patterns in the hot season, and key strategies to optimise energy bills and access to social tariffs, to the installation of low-cost solutions to reduce indoor overheating and to increase thermal comfort. In addition, challenging outdoor interventions to mitigate the urban heat island and cool down surrounding urban area will be also carried out.
Train energy poverty agents to work with energy poor households
and help them improve their living conditions. These energy poverty agents will play a key role in fighting energy poverty. In some cases, once the project is finished, these people will have improved skills and acquired new knowledge to put into practice in their continuous professional life. In other cases, they will be young people that, despite not being professionals in this field, will constitute citizens with new useful knowledge on energy savings and social inequalities.
Alleviate summer energy poverty conditions of more than 7,240 people
COOLTORISE project will engage more than 7,240 energy poor citizens and will work with them to reduce their vulnerability towards summer energy poverty. COOLTORISE will reduce their energy needs, improve their homes’ indoor thermal comfort, and cut down their energy bills. All these actions will turn into a reduction of heat-related health risks.
Foster women’s empowerment to try to revert the feminisation of energy poverty
The project addresses common barriers that impede the participation of women in programmed actions, such as having to take care of children or being elderly with mobility difficulties.
Accomplish a high level of dissemination that brings to the fore the issue of summer energy poverty
The project aims to go beyond the number of direct households COOLtoRISE will work with. This project intends to raise summer energy poverty awareness, highlighting its specificities and the need for implementing tailored solutions, schemes, and policies.
The COOLtoRISE project is carried out in 6 interconnected work package during a time frame of 36 months
WP1 is aimed at the contextualisation of the incidence of summer energy poverty in participating households and defining tailored solutions. Energy poverty agents, who will be trained in WP2, will directly work with energy poor households, and will implement actions in WP3 to reduce their energy needs and improve thermal comfort in their dwellings during summertime. Benefits achieved throughout the implementation of actions will be evaluated in WP4. Simultaneously to these working packages, communication and dissemination of the project will be carried out in WP5 and the coordination and management will be conducted within WP6.
Following is the Gantt of the project: