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5 May 2011 | PR 11/50

University works with E.ON to find solutions to fuel poverty in the UK

More than four million UK households live in fuel poverty, defined as spending more than 10 per cent of their total income on keeping adequately warm.

Helping to solve this multi-faceted problem is the focus of research being carried out by Loughborough University, sponsored by energy company E.ON.

Fuel poverty is a complex issue that arises from a simple problem: the inability to heat your home affordably. Its key contributing factors are a home’s energy efficiency, household income and the price of energy.

New research will examine possible solutions to fuel poverty and the role that energy companies can play in its eradication.

The work is sponsored by E.ON through the EPSRC CASE Award Scheme, and builds on research carried out last year as part of E.ON’s Challenge 100 project.

The full results of Challenge 100 were published in October 2010, providing valuable information on the factors which lead to fuel poverty and the effectiveness of energy efficiency improvements.

The newly-announced CASE award project is a direct follow-on to that work.

Loughborough University’s Director of the Sustainability Research School, and E.ON/RAEng Chair Professor Dennis Loveday said: “Fuel poverty is a socio-technical issue and so by its very nature, this research needs to have a multi-faceted approach.

“Our findings will be disseminated to key stakeholders, including Government, which has a target of eradicating fuel poverty by 2016. I have been impressed by the leadership and capability shown by E.ON in delivering Challenge 100.’’

Mrs Victoria Haines, Head of User-Centred Design Research at Loughborough University and co-investigator with Professor Loveday in the research programme, added: “E.ON’s commitment to Challenge 100 and to longer-term research into the issue of fuel poverty are pioneering initiatives.”


For all media enquiries contact:

Sarah Hall
Marketing and Communications Officer
Enterprise Office
Loughborough University
T: 01509 228684
E: S.Hall@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

Challenge 100:
Through the Challenge 100 project, E.ON worked with 100 families, in 100 homes across the country with the aim of seeing a positive impact on levels of fuel poverty within 100 days.
Project leaders set up a one-stop shop to provide all the support needed to help the 100 families. It included: free energy efficiency measures such as wall and loft insulation, high efficiency central heating, draught proofing, simple energy efficiency advice, information on tariffs and payment methods and benefit entitlement checks.

E.ON worked with a total of 12 partners to deliver the challenge, which eradicated fuel poverty for 42 families.

A team of academics from across Loughborough University worked together on the Challenge 100 project, gathering and assimilating relevant information, identifying areas for consideration and pinpointing key issues.

The resulting literature review provided the necessary scientific support, helped to shape the challenge and guided its focus.

Loughborough University has a world-leading reputation for research into the interactions between people, buildings and energy.

The University has established the interdisciplinary Sustainability Research School to help its academic departments work together to tackle the global challenges in this  and similar fields.

It is this expertise which made Loughborough University the first choice for E.ON when they searched for an academic partner to help shape the Challenge 100 project.

About Loughborough University:
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2010 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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