The research reported in this summary of findings identifies the financial and non-financial barriers that prevent lower income households from reducing their carbon consumption.
This research is designed as a follow-up to the data mining exercise (CRC-LCL RP3001) conducted by Burke and Ralston. In their report, Burke and Ralston (2015) identified rising fuel costs as a major factor in lower income household’s adoption of adaptive behavours to reducing their carbon consumption. They found that “low income households, for whatever reason, found it harder to adapt their energy budget to either rising costs or consumption needs” (Burke & Ralston 2015: 5). This was despite energy costs having risen relative to income between 1993 and 2012, and that industry liberalisation had not created new levels of fuel hardship.
The barriers that prevent lower income households to reducing their carbon consumption may, therefore, be more than financial and these households may be constrained by other factors. For example, social and private renters (as identified in Burke and Ralston (2015) as two groups particularly vulnerable to increases in fuel costs) may be constrained from modifying their homes (e.g. installing insulation) to make them more energy efficient.
RP3038 Project Report 2016 (980407 PDF)