Structural factors impacting energy policies

This report examines the structural barriers preventing investment in energy efficiency measures in Europe’s Private Rented Sector (PRS) housing stock.

The analysis is undertaken with reference to the broader trends in private renting, the regulatory landscape that currently exists, and the need to reduce social vulnerability and income poverty more generally. An introduction detailing historical and geographical trends in Europe, using case studies and elaborating upon research and policy analysis from previous ENPOR project reports, serves to provide the starting point of the review.

Following desk-based reviews of academic and grey literature, we identified Financial, Political/Regulatory, Social, and Geographical factors as key barriers to the implementation of energy efficiency policies in the PRS, which provide the backbone structure of this review. Several strands of analysis are drawn upon, including expert viewpoints and a stakeholder survey.  

The primary survey was conducted with a range of stakeholders working in the field of energy poverty, energy efficiency, housing and decarbonisation, and served to generate primary data on knowledge of policies, ratings of importance on the identified barriers and governance scales, and understandings of the effects of policy on vulnerable groups.

Partners from the ENPOR Consortium also provided expert situated viewpoints, which were drawn together to provide a holistic overview of factors contributing to the key barriers, as well as suggesting potential solutions from a multi-stakeholder perspective, supplemented by the survey’s findings.

A common theme running throughout our analyses and recommendations is that solutions to energy poverty in the private rented sector are situated across the barriers, and are ultimately financial, social, political regulatory and technical. Although a practical way of identifying structural factors that can prevent investment in energy efficiency, this is where we reach the limits of the conceptual notion of ‘barriers’ as an explanatory tool for understanding the persistent energy poverty, housing quality and energy efficiency related challenges.

The report is available on Zenodo and below.