Living Lab Mountainous Area – Metsovo, Greece.
Energy poverty has become a serious problem in Greece, especially in its mountainous areas, which are the country’s geographical backbone and are characterized by cold climatic conditions. Metsovo is a small town, in the heart of Pindhus mountain range. 87.8% of Metsovo’s households are characterised as vulnerable. Households there spend an average of 18% of their income on energy. The percentage becomes 20% for households under the official poverty threshold, which means that these households are extremely vulnerable and in need of support. Around 40% of mountainous households in Greece report that they feel unable to keep their home adequately warm; approximately 75% state that they are forced to reduce other basic needs in order to cover their energy needs, even food, known as the heat or eat phenomenon. 20% reported arrears on energy bills, and 25% reported health problems related to inadequate heating at home.
35% of the vulnerable mountainous households in Greece tend to waste energy, which reveals that offering advice leading to a change in behaviour is of great benefit.
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.Dimitrios Kaliampakos
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).