Fighting energy poverty through energy efficiency

This social innovation is characterized by public authorities working in coordination with supply companies and civil society organisation in order to implement energy efficiency measures for houses and buildings with the aim of fighting fuel poverty with a tailored and inclusive approach.


Reference cases analysed within the scope of SMARTEES: Aberdeen (Scotland) and Timişoara (Romania).

Aberdeen, UK

Aberdeen’s economic prosperity is founded on its position as the ‘Oil Capital of Europe’. However, with the decline of North Sea oil in recent years, the city has sought to diversify its energy sector and transition to a ‘Global Energy City’.  Whilst overall Aberdeen is an affluent city, it contains significant areas of social deprivation and fuel poverty. Aberdeen City Council aims to ameliorate fuel poverty in the city through an integrated programme involving the development of retrofit district heat networks as well as offering households individualised support and access to energy efficiency improvements (e.g. external wall insulation).


The project brings together key regional players from public, private and other sectors, led by Aberdeen City Council. The heat network programme in Aberdeen was initially focused on developing lower carbon, more affordable heating for the City’s high-rise social housing blocks and public buildings.  The council reports CO2 emissions savings of 56% in buildings already connected, with residents’ fuel bills reduced by up to 50%. The current phase of development plans to extend the heat network to an area of older, harder-to-treat housing and mixed tenure blocks and to build on existing energy efficiency programmes to form a common platform for engaging householders.

Timișoara, Romania

Timişoara has developed an action plan to reduce its fossil energy use and decrease carbon intensity. At the same time, as energy costs are a challenge for a significant proportion of the city’s inhabitants, it is necessary to combine energy transitions with measures addressing fuel poverty.


In the field of energy-efficient buildings and districts, Timişoara municipality has identified three major goals: (1) renovation work to transform existing buildings into energy-efficient buildings, (2) energy-efficient districts, and (3) neutral or energy-positive new buildings. Through thermal rehabilitation, the city aims to reduce the beneficiaries' costs by increasing the energy performance of buildings while reducing the annual heating costs by approximately 60%


The municipality also supports citizens’ initiatives. Owners of apartments and buildings in the residential sector, private businesses, and large industrial customers are other important actors who influence energy consumption in Timişoara.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 763912. The sole responsibility for the content of this website lies with the SMARTEES project. It does not necessarily represent the opinion of the European Union.