Raúl  Castaño-Rosa, a PhD researcher from the University of Seville (Spain) recently spent three months as a visiting researcher at the Sustainable  Housing  &  Urban  Studies  Unit  (SHUSU)  at  the University  of  Salford (United Kingdom). His reflections are presented here.

As  a  final  element  of  my  PhD,  I  carried  out  a  three  month  stay from January until April 2018 at  SHUSU,  funded  by  Eaga  Charitable  Trust  and  the  ENGAGER  Cost Project. During my stay I was supervised by  Dr.  Graeme  Sherriff (SHUSU) and  co-supervised  by  Dr.  Harriet  Thomson (University of Birmingham).

Effectively  targeting  energy  poverty  (EP)  requires  a  good  understanding  of  levels  of vulnerability  and  how  they  are  constituted  by  poor  quality  housing  and  economic circumstances,  as  well  an  appreciation  of  what  measures  are  most  appropriate  in  different settings.  My  research  to  date  has  been  developed  within  the  Spanish context  and  takes  into  consideration  the  current  situation  of  this  issue  in  Spain,  where  no official  definition  has  been  established. This contrasts  to  other  countries  such  as  United Kingdom,  Ireland,  France,  and  Slovakia.  The analysis  of  the  EP  context  at  a  national  and international  level,  during  my  three  years  of  study,  has  allowed  me  to  define  the  Index  of Vulnerable  Homes  (IVH).

Given  its  history  in  addressing  EP,  the  UK  may  be  considered as  a  reference  country  in  combatting energy poverty,  mainly due to the existence of well-established policies  and  research  groups. As a result, my stay  at  the  University  of  Salford  has  helped me  to  broaden  this  research  focus  beyond  my  current  discipline.  During the visit,  the  IVH was  adapted  to  the  British  context  and  applied  to  a  case  study  in  the  city  of  Salford, a city in the northwest of England. Furthermore,  a  comparative  analysis  with  current  EP  indicators,  the  10%  measure  and  the Low  Income  High  Cost  (LIHC)  indicator,  has  been  provided.  The  result  is  a  new methodology  that  assesses  the  level  of  household  vulnerability,  regardless  of  whether  or not  it  is  currently  experiencing  fuel  poverty and  their  relationship to  the  quality  of  life  of  tenants. Three dimensions are used:  monetary  cost,  energy  and  thermal  comfort.  The  proposed index  could  enable  the  British Government,  as  well  as  other  countries  and  governments, to  improve  citizens’  quality  of  life,  if  applied  together  with  cost-effective  policies.

For more information about Raul’s research, see his most recent publication:

Castaño-Rosa, J.  Solís-Guzmán,  M.  Marrero,  A  novel  Index  of  Vulnerable  Homes:  Findings  from  application  in  Spain,  Indoor  Built  Environment.  (2018).  doi:10.1177/1420326X18764783.  


Read the scientific report from Rauls’s STSM.

Or follow him on twitter: @rcr90