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Evaluating the impact of energy efficiency strategies on households’ energy affordability: a Spanish case study

R. Barrella, J.I. Linares, J.C. Romero, E.M. Arenas

Energy and Buildings Vol. 295, pp. 113289-1 - 113289-13


The low energy efficiency of the European building stock is both a social and environmental issue. However, plans and studies on energy retrofitting interventions do not usually evaluate the impact of these measures on households’ energy affordability.

This paper analyses and compares the effect of alternative retrofitting strategies on thermal energy services’ affordability in Spanish vulnerable households. This analysis was carried out by applying the Required Thermal Energy Expenditure model proposed in previous studies to several 2030 residential building stock scenarios, setting 2020 as a baseline. Therefore, this work proposes a methodological approach to assess the impact of the considered energy efficiency interventions on energy poverty in winter (WEP) and summer (SEP) and carries out both a ‘social cost’ and a cost-benefit analysis.

The dwelling’s thermal-enclosure retrofitting stands out as a very WEP-reduction and social-cost effective measure. Instead, replacing old thermal systems with more efficient ones would have a higher impact on SEP. Combining both kinds of retrofitting measures could reduce heating and cooling required expenditures by, respectively, 49% and 59%, and decrease the WEP and SEP share, correspondingly, by 35% and 63%. These results might inform policymakers to enhance the targeting and design of energy efficiency programs.

Resumen divulgativo:

Este artículo analiza el efecto de las estrategias alternativas de rehabilitación sobre la asequibilidad de los servicios térmicos en los hogares vulnerables españoles. Esta evaluación considera su impacto en la pobreza energética de invierno y verano e incluye un análisis integrado de "coste social" y coste-beneficio.

Palabras Clave: Energy efficiency; Building retrofit; Energy poverty; Building stock model; Cost-effectiveness; Spain

Índice de impacto JCR y cuartil WoS: 6,700 - Q1 (2022)

Referencia DOI: DOI icon

Publicado en papel: Septiembre 2023.

Publicado on-line: Junio 2023.

R. Barrella, J.I. Linares, J.C. Romero, E.M. Arenas, Evaluating the impact of energy efficiency strategies on households’ energy affordability: a Spanish case study. Energy and Buildings. Vol. 295, pp. 113289-1 - 113289-13, Septiembre 2023. [Online: Junio 2023]

    Líneas de investigación:
  • Pobreza energética: Indicadores, políticas y regulación