Energy poverty, housing and health: the lived experience of older low-income Australians

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Building Research & Information, 2021, pp. 1-13
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
Energy poverty (EP) is the product of three main factors – the cost of energy, household income and the energy e!ciency of the dwelling. Climate change and rising energy costs are likely to accentuate EP. This study extends our knowledge about EP in Australia and examines its relationship to housing and health. Drawing on 23 semi-structured interviews, we map the impacts of EP on older low-income people residing in Sydney and Melbourne. These impacts include food insecurity, an incapacity to purchase essential consumer items, an inability to a"ord required medical procedures, thermal discomfort and social exclusion. We found that many interviewees do not recognize their own EP situation or are too ashamed to ask for help. Thus, the overall cost of EP to individuals and the broader society can be far higher than what statistics indicate. The article proposes a conceptualization of the relationship between housing, health and EP drawing on a #gure we have created. The severe impacts of EP suggest that measures to lessen it among older vulnerable households are urgently required.
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