Keeping warm? Self-reported housing and home energy efficiency factors impacting on older people heating homes in North Wales
This paper examines a representative sample (N=421) of older people (aged 70+) living in rural North Wales with regard to relationships between fuel poverty, feeling cold in one's home and a range of self-reported housing and home energy efficiency items. In the Welsh context, the combination of poor housing stock and low-level income is likely to increase the chance of older people experiencing fuel poverty, therefore the analyses are relevant to both energy and social policy. The paper hypothesises that: (i) People in ‘fuel poor’ homes are: low-income households; living in older houses; lacking home energy efficiency measures; (ii) not all people facing difficulties heating their home (i.e. wearing extra clothing to keep warm during cold spells) are identified as ‘fuel poor’, but there will be an association between taking extra measures to keep warm and low income; older houses and lacking home energy efficiency factors. The results partially support the hypotheses. An estimation is made of the expenditure required to counter the factors associated with fuel poverty and cold homes in the region. The paper concludes with implications for the UK Fuel Poverty Strategy.