The project, which ran between October 2013 and April 2014, is motivated by the lack of clarity about the manner in which Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) are treated in key elements of the new policy framework for energy efficiency introduced in the 2012 Energy Act – Green Deal, ECO and forthcoming private rented sector energy efficiency regulation.
HOME is underpinned by an estimated high presence of fuel poverty in HMOs, and the lack of empirical evidence and analytical frameworks to understand the distinctive norms and structural drivers around energy use in these properties.
Similar to several other CURE initiatives, HOME used an energy vulnerability approach, in addition to the more conventional approach taken in fuel poverty research. Thinking in terms of energy vulnerability is particularly relevant for HMOs, where households do not occupy a stand-alone unit and energy bills are often included as a part of rent.
This project had two interlinked aims:
- To provide immediate practical guidance for energy efficiency programme delivery to help understand, target and reach HMOs and their occupants and landlords in England.
- To improve the very limited understanding of energy vulnerability (the structural drivers, norms and coping strategies around energy use) for households in HMOs.
We used three main questions to structure our research:
- How does current policy and legislative framework pertinent to fuel poverty address occupants in HMOs?
- How are HMOs to be treated in key elements of the new policy framework for energy efficiency introduced in the 2012 Energy Act – Green Deal, ECO and forthcoming private rented sector energy efficiency regulation?
- What is the potential for changes to delivery arrangements, regulations and policies at the local and national level, in terms of improving the uptake of energy efficiency measures in HMOs?
In addition to conducting a national review of relevant policy and legislation, the project illustrated policy implementation and ‘real context’ experiences through a case study of Manchester.
Progress on the project and key dates and events were published in a dedicated feed on this blog.
Project team at Manchester
Project team at Future Climate
William Baker, Consumer Focus
Neil Coles, National HMO Network
Dr Nick Eyre, University of Oxford
Neil Jennings, NUS
Michael O’Doherty, Manchester City Council