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Energy Check for Low Income Households (EC-LINC)

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Households make up 25 per cent of the EU final energy demand. Rising energy prices are the subject of public debate in most European countries as well as challenges concerning climate change and the finiteness of global resources.At the same time, information on energy efficiency in our own homes is complicated, and is usually not tailored to low income households. Low income households often do not have adequate information needed for choosing a new efficient household appliance or for learning to save energy at home by changing their behaviour.They usually cannot afford the initial investment for high-efficiency domestic appliances, so less efficient second-hand appliances are used. The project "Energy-Check for Low Income Households" (EC-LINC) established tailored information and consultation approaches to assist low income house-holds in saving energy and water at home. No- and low-cost measures have been combined within an advice service that is especially designed to bring practical knowledge on energy efficiency and viable tips to households who may be in fuel poverty. During the home visits, advice is provided on the efficient use of energy and water. Small devices such as compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and tap aerators have been provided for free. Each household received an individual household report with a description of their potential savings and further tips for changing behaviour.


  • Development and implementation of replicable energy consultation schemes tailored for low-income households to achieve significant and quantifiable savings of electric power, water and heating energy through low-or-no-cost-measures.
  • Raising awareness for the rational use of energy in low-income households in direct consultation in their homes through immediate action and installation of small saving devices.
  • Re-integration of long-term unemployed or low-skilled people in the regular job market by qualifying them to advise households on saving electric power, water and heating energy.
  • Bridging the gap between the EU policies for energy efficiency in private households and the special needs of low-income households.
  • Holding of training courses for 24 energy advisors. Total of 1,019 consultations Savings of electricity of 284.81 kWh/hh/year and 290 MWh over project Savings of heating energy of 1,021 kWh/hh/year and 1,040 MWh over project

Lessons learned

  • Fuel poverty is an issue of public debate not only in the partner countries, but also all across Europe. However preconditions, reasons and possibilities for a solution vary widely. It therefore was not possible or expedient to find a common definition of fuel poverty in Europe during the project duration. However, in 2013 the partners agreed on a soft definition, i.e. a person is fuel poor, if he or she has financial difficulties with paying the bills for a reasonable energy consumption.
  • Local or regional networks are the crucial point for pilot projects like those built-up in EC-LINC. The projects need political support and good will to be successful and sustainable. They possibly need further financial support from stakeholders (utilities, municipalities or other local actors). A good basis are existing national and or local framework conditions that stimulate the implementation and performance of the project (e.g. communal climate protection or energy efficiency plans etc.)
  • Raising the interest of private, low-income households is a very special task. Promotion material and measures to address this target group have to be tailored carefully. If the first households could be reached the chances are good to have some support by them themselves via word-of mouth-recommendation. However even here local networks are helpful, as they already may have access to the target group.

Partners and coordinator

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Berliner Energieagentur GmbH
Contact point: 
Gunnar Betz
+49 30 293330-13
Ms Sabine Piller
Eva Marx
Ms Vanessa Schmidt


In brief

15/04/2011 to 14/02/2014
Contract number: 

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