[19.01.24] ENPOR: final words and summary report

Between 2020 and 2023, ENPOR has studied and acted to reduce energy poverty within the Private Rented Sector across seven European nations: Austria, Croatia, Estonia, Italy, Germany, Greece, and the Netherlands. This work was necessary as energy poverty – which arises when one cannot cover their energy expenditure due to a combination of high energy costs, low incomes, inefficient housing, and varied regional climates – is a growing issue in the private rented sector (PRS), seeing as roughly 30% of the EU’s citizens live in rental properties, often characterized by lower energy efficiency. Within the project, 10 policies in 7 Member States were altered to consider and better accommodate the basic energy requirements of those experiencing energy poverty within the PRS.

At the heart of ENPOR’s methodology was the formation of REgional ACTion (REACT) groups, which have been instrumental in fostering collaborative policy development and comprehensive stakeholder engagement across several communities and landscapes. These groups collaborated to ensure that the developed policies resonated with the diverse needs and experiences within the different countries’ rented sectors. In addition, the project conducted an exhaustive analysis of 114 existing policies to identify gaps in energy justice and formulate targeted recommendations to rectify this issue.

Innovations like the Energy Poverty Dashboard and the Split Incentive Quantification Tool, a tool to study the ‘split incentives’ problem to balance costs and benefits between landlords and tenants, emerged from ENPOR, offering new perspectives in understanding and tackling energy poverty in the PRS. Following the co-creation of the 10 policies, several key policy recommendations arose, including the prioritization of inclusive and tenant focused measures, the enhancement of energy efficiency standards in the PRS, especially for the least energy-efficient buildings. Moreover, the policies advocate for tenant protections against unfair evictions post-renovation and encourage shared responsibilities in energy efficiency improvements.

ENPOR’s impacts are numerous, but most importantly, the project has heightened awareness and understanding of energy poverty in the PRS among policymakers and stakeholders, while its practical policy recommendations have influenced legislative and programmatic shifts in EU Member States. Furthermore, the project sets a new standard in stakeholder collaboration and policy co-creation, laying a foundation for future energy poverty initiatives.