This paper presents information on the extent of fuel poverty in the European Union. It presents the various definitions used, assesses potential measures to alleviate its impact and underlines the role of energy efficiency in buildings in combating the problem. The extent of the problem and its significant impacts in EU countries are assessed, based on current approaches in defining and identifying energy/fuel poverty as well as on statistical data,. Furthermore, the authors analyse the measures taken to tackle fuel poverty and stress that the only sustainable solution to the problem is the implementation of energy efficiency measures in fuel poor houses. The social, environmental and financial results of energy efficiency programs in fuel poor households are also presented and analysed. Moreover, case studies from Greece and the United Kingdom are presented in order to study how fuel poverty measures are funded. The results show that energy efficiency measures receive the lowest budget compared to fuel/heating support schemes even though they additionally contribute to economic growth and social inclusion and that financial tools such as EU cohesion funds are available.
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This paper is based on the Buildings Performance Institute Europe (BPIE) study “Alleviating fuel poverty in the EU- Investing in home renovation, a sustainable and inclusive solution”. It was presented during the eceee Summer Study conference in France.