Limiting energy poverty: a major challenge for Smart Cities

The successful development of a Smart City passes the following two mandatory challenges: an improved durability, ie a performance that is sustained over years, and the respect for the environment and a better consideration of the citizen, its needs and aspirations (I shall return more specifically on these issues in future articles).

On energy, a solution to energy poverty is at the crossroads of these two issues. As such, the resolution of this problem increasingly important can be seen as an indicator of the dynamism and the relevance of the approach of a Smart City.

According BPIE in 2012, over 10% of the European population does not have the means to properly heating their home. Often, households with lower incomes, live in the worst performing housing thermally. This situation is, of course, not acceptable in a dynamic such as that of Smart Cities. The Smart Cities shall indeed an integrative movement of technology, application or human and not a process of exclusion or partitioning.

Energy poverty has many consequences:

– It often leads to heating restrictions, which, themselves, can cause a deterioration of housing (by excess of humidity for example).

– These restrictions create in many cases favourable conditions for a degraded health.

– It leads to late payments of energy, reducing the economic interests of energy renovation of buildings concerned.

– It also leads to the use of heating means of fortune that are polluting and dangerous.

These consequences have a systemic aspect; thus, reduce energy poverty, has an impact on health, on social conditions, on the condition of buildings, as well as on the environment and human safety …

Energy poverty is, in some ways, a national issue, but in many others, appears mostly as a local issue. Cities have many cards in hand to fight.

It seems to me important that, as any funding program for neighbourhoods or buildings renovation in a Smart City has a specific component in reducing energy poverty. Similarly, collective actions organized to support households to less energy consuming behaviour must provide a specific support for households in energy poverty and sometimes organize it as a priority. It is through such support that the energy players will realize the extreme simplicity that must have the information provided to consumers.


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