Fuel Poverty Carbon Footprint

This project is funded by Eaga Partnership Charitable Trust – November 2007 to March 2009.

The purpose is to inform debate on whether fuel poverty alleviation programmes conflict with carbon emissions reduction programmes.

Five local authorities in the east of England supplied 31 survey candidates who were interviewed in their homes to establish their carbon footprints.  All the candidates had received energy efficiency retrofit measures for their homes under their local authority’s fuel poverty programme.  The calculator used was the Act On CO2 calculator.   5 case studies were also developed, using further questionnaires to establish their carbon footprints from other emissions sources: water, food, waste and public transport use.

  • Lowest carbon footprint 1.14; largest 16.64 (tCO2/yr).  UK average at the time of the study was 10.2 tCO2/yr.
  • No evidence of indirect rebound effects; savings in fuel costs do not lead to expenditure on carbon emitting activities or appliances
  • Amount of carbon savings from measures delivered to this group the same or better than to a higher income group
  • Hard to treat dwellings (solid wall and/or off the gas network) provide greater carbon emissions reduction on a dwelling for dwelling basis but the cost is higher

The survey group is small, but the confidence at the 95% level is remarkably good.  However the group is self-selected, i.e. they were willing to participate, and there is a bias towards older, rural households.

A robust study of mixed groups of households and incomes including KWh readings before and after measures is recommended.

Issues regarding the use of carbon footprinting and vulnerable householders suggest further research on perceptions of comfort and fuel poverty and also programmes for climate change mitigation and vulnerable people would be worth pursuing.


Full Project Report – full project details, findings and discussion

Summary Report – findings

Evaluation Report – methodology and critique, carbon footprint of the project; interest for other researchers

Citation: please cite as Pett, Jacky (2008) Fuel Poverty Carbon Footprint. Pett Projects, Norfolk. 

All rights reserved, photographs may not be reproduced in any format without written permission of the author.

Papers and Presentations

  • Suffolk Coastal Greenprint forum(pdf)
  • NEA Eastern Region Fuel Poverty Forum (pdf)
  • HEON-E (now CAN-East) Conference 2009 (pdf)
  • Paper and presentation for eceee Summer Study June 2009
  • EEPH Fuel Poverty Strategy Group

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