Living Lab Mountainous Area – Metsovo, Greece.
Energy poverty has evolved into an increasingly urgent problem in Greece since 2009, the outbreak of the economic crisis. According to the most recent statistical data, 25.7% of Greek households are unable to keep their home adequately warm, 38.5% have arrears in their utility bills and 13.5% live in dwellings with a leaking roof, damp walls, floors or foundation. The problem is more intense in Greece’s mountainous areas, which are the country’s geographical backbone; around 40% of mountainous households report that they feel unable to keep their home adequately warm, 75% state that they are forced to reduce other basic needs in order to cover their energy needs, 20% have arrears on energy bills, and 25% mention health problems related to inadequate heating at home. Mountainous areas are more vulnerable to energy poverty because: (a) the thermal energy demand is much higher compared to sea-level; (b) the remoteness and terrain inclination increase fuel costs in mountainous settlements; and (c) in general, mountainous communities demonstrate a lower income level.
The Metsovo Living Lab aims to bring together a range of local and national stakeholders and experts from the academic sector in order to provide energy advice to local households towards reducing their energy costs and improving their quality of life.
What STEP-IN does.
The mountainous Living Lab takes place in the settlement of Metsovo. It is operated mainly by NTUA in collaboration with the Municipality of Metsovo. The area has encountered increasing rates of energy vulnerability in recent years. Previous surveys conducted by NTUA, which operates an interdisciplinary Laboratory and a MSc programme in the town, revealed that certain groups are especially vulnerable to energy poverty: low income households, elderly households, households living in old dwellings, and households using inefficient heating systems, for instance open fireplaces, old wood stoves, and poorly maintained central heating systems. The Living Lab deals with those households in highest need, affected by colder climatic conditions, older building stock, shortage of productive activities and higher fuel prices due to geographical isolation and high transportation costs.
Some measures have been implemented by the Greek Government, for example “Energy Saving at Home” (a project that provided subsidies for energy saving interventions), the Social Residential Tariff regarding electrical energy charges, and the policy for helping households purchase heating oil. So far, the effectiveness of these measures has not been assessed in a systematic way. The Living Lab therefore aims to implement, test, and evaluate a number of different tools, processes and actions to tackle energy vulnerability for the very first time in this area.
Citizens in Metsovo benefit from more sustainable energy behaviour and choices without compromising comfort levels, and assistance with available energy efficiency measures such as tax credits. We help people to use their wood and oil more efficiently, and to better understand their energy bills and alternative energy schemes available to them.
Metsovo households classed as energy poor (2014)
of mountainous households report arrears on energy bills
of Metsovo households
of mountainous housedholds report health problems
Living lab characteristics.
The Mountainous Area Living Lab targets low income households, elderly households, households living in old dwellings, and households using different heating systems (wood and oil).