Living Lab Rural Area – Nyirbátor DISTRICT, Hungary.
In Hungary, 11% of households were unable to keep their house adequately warm in the winter, and 24% had arrears (for instance on utility bills) in 2014. These numbers are only slightly higher than the EU average, but the regional differences in Hungary are significant. In certain areas, for instance in southern Hungary (Ormánság) or the eastern region, energy poverty rates exceed 50%, especially in villages with high ethnic minority population.
The main aspects of energy vulnerability in these areas are related to lack of access to energy supply, use of inefficient devices, old buildings, and inefficient energy consumption patterns. Energy theft, old devices and lack of proper maintenance leading to high consumption, poor windows and missing insulation resulting in inefficient heating, dysfunctional consumption, and heating by solid fuels resulting in air pollution (usage of bad quality fuels, e.g. non-dried wood, clothes, plastic, packing materials) constitute further problems.
The scope of this Living Lab is to identify inefficiency factors and required information and resources to shift towards more efficient consumption, providing improved quality of life for those in need.
What STEP-IN does.
The Living Lab is operated jointly by Maltai and Ariosz, with the support of E.ON. The main focus of the Living Lab is consumer behaviour: support energy literacy, and help households optimise energy consumption. Together with other partners the Living Lab explores the feasibility of refurbishment actions in low income households. It mainly aims to provide safe and legal access to the energy network via prepaid meters, in close cooperation with energy provider companies, and combined with a debt management programme; to provide simple electricity meters for energy advisors to assess consumption from device to device in participating households; and to cooperate with energy providers and data analysts to give feedback to the consumers. The Living Lab further explores feasible business models for major energy efficiency investments and aims to increase the energy awareness of younger generations through school programmes and lectures.
We aim to increase energy awareness and energy literacy, and reduce the overall number of households with arrears on utility bills. We encourage people to change to less air polluting heating methods, and try to change high energy consumption habits without decreasing comfort levels. Replacing old inefficient devices and refurbishing houses with new insulation is also a focus.
of households in Hungary were unable to keep their home warm (2014)
of households had arrears (e.g. on utility bills) in 2014
of households in Transdanubia were classed as energy poor
Living lab characteristics.
The Rural Area Living Lab targets low income households, ethnic minorities, households with many children (5 or more), and unemployed people.