The POWERPOOR project is incerasingly bearing fruit. At the beginning of February, The Estonian Union of Co-operative Housing Associations (EKYL) opened the first Local Energy Poverty Alleviation Office in the country, in Tallinn. This represents a major step forward, as this option complements the effort of certified Energy Supporters and Mentors who have been visiting impacted households.
This event represents a milestone as the office will play several important roles. Firstly, it will be a means of communication of the benefits of implementing energy-efficient interventions, installing renewable energy sources, joining an energy cooperative, or a crowdfunding campaign. It will serve to encourage Estonian homeowners to adopt energy-efficient behaviour, practices, and habits. The activity of the office will help to build a network of Energy Supporters and Mentors. And last but not least, it will allow promoting the POWERPOOR toolkit.
The office will serve as a free of charge one-stop-shop. Those who are interested will be able to find information on what energy poverty is, receive a diagnostic to see if they are concerned by the phenomenon, and also be given advice on what they could change in their homes and behaviour. Although for now there is only one permanent office, the other pilot cities (Tartu, Pärnu, and Kuressaare) will be covered through pop-up office days.
The current heating situation in Estonian homes makes this step a very timely one, as the EKYL Chairman, Andres Jaadla, said himself: “Rapidly rising energy prices have led to a situation where a large proportion of the population is at risk of energy poverty. It is estimated that more than half of Estonian housing needs to improve energy efficiency to reduce energy poverty in the future. There is a need to find solutions quickly to provide support to the most vulnerable, giving them the skills and knowledge to make their homes more energy-efficient.” He added that Estonia is launching the Building Renovation Marathon initiative, which will be supported by the Energy Poverty Office team in introducing opportunities for collective energy initiatives through apartment associations.
The opening was enthusiastically received by the team. According to Anu Sarnet, the Head of International Relations and Projects at EKYL: “The new Energy Poverty Alleviation Office will help bring the know-how and tools for the alleviation of energy poverty developed in the POWERPOOR project to the local context and establish direct contact with the households that will benefit most in Estonia”.
We can only wish good luck to everyone involved in this commendable effort to fight against the sometimes underestimated issue of energy poverty.