Inigo Antepara from Lille Catholic Univeristy (France) recently visited the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA) (Greece). His reflections are presented here:
This blog post gives me an opportunity to thank everyone within ENGANGER for the STSM. The awarded grant was held in Athens at the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), hosted by the research group of Dimitris Kaliampakos, Nikolas Katsoulas and Lefkodea Papada. It became a perfect end for my two-years postdoc at the Chair “Enterprise and Social Impact Business” at the Lille Catholic University in Lille, North of France.
During my stay we explored a methodology for evaluating which households are living in energy poverty using theoretical energy costs instead of real ones. This question is relevant in many European countries, where estimations of energy needs do not exist and where energy poverty is estimated on the basis of actual energy expenses. England doesn’t have to deal with this targeting problem. Professor John Hills recommended within his Low Income High Cost (LIHC) fuel poverty methodology that both income and energy bills should be adjusted, known as ‘equivalisation’. The surveys that inform the LIHC methodology are specially designed to provide the required data despite the need for a considerable amount of resources, i.e. it is expensive and sometimes the data is difficult to obtain.
Our proposal differs from from the complicated UK method. We will calculate a modelled energy bill using energy performance data of the building (the energy efficiency label or the overall heat transfer coefficient of the building) that is adjusted according to socio-demographic variables from Greek and French data. Subsequently, equivalisation weights will be calculated on a socio-demographic basis.
The first day of the visit to Athens was devoted to presenting the proposed research to Nikolas Katsoulas, the supervisor of the STSM. The next day, the idea was presented to the rest of the group in Athens, including Dimitris Kaliampakos, Dean of the School of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering. Then, in order to evaluate existing research in this area and what is innovative about the proposal, previous analyses using datasets from France were reviewed. A series of hypotheses were developed from the discussions and review:
Hypothesis 1: “An analysis to find a correlation between socio-demographic variables and actual energy bills, focusing on the variables increasing the energy needs due to:
- i) Higher temperatures are needed (children less than 3 year old or long term illness)
- ii) or when staying at home longer periods of time (pensioners, people with disabilities, or unemployed)”
Hypothesis 2: “The variables from the above list with a positive correlation, they modify the modelled energy bills, so that they increase the final energy consumption. An econometric analysis will be performed to calculate these equivalisation weights, adjusting the actual energy expenditure thanks to those socio-demographic variables of the household linked to vulnerability.”
A different analysis was also discussed with Liberis Tsabras, considering a simplified approach using income and the DPE label (Diagnostic Performance Energétique, the French energy performance label). We considered whether it would be possible to compare Greek and French data in this instance. It was found to be difficult as the data in France was available for households whilst the data in Greece is for municipalities.
A third meeting took place in Metsovo, a beautiful place in the mountains close to the border with Albania. Snow was falling the day we arrived. There, I had the opportunity to meet Lefkodea Papada. During her PhD research, she is using the modelled required energy consumption as a proxy for measuring energy poverty, to overcome the problem of using actual energy expenses. It is possible to use this data for the methodology proposed for the STSM.
Ideally, this proposal will help to develop a European energy poverty indicator. The methodology could be exported to other countries if the specific ways in which the energy performance of the buildings is measured can be adapted to the criteria and indicators of separate countries. This is an obstacle, as energy performance of the buildings is measured in a different way in every country, even within the EU.
A big thank you to everyone I met at the NTUA as they made the visit so easy. A really nice place to enjoy a STSM!
To find out more about Inigo’s research to date see his profile on researchgate here.