Presentation on theme: "SCHOOL OF EARTH AND ENVIRONMENT An investigation into the potential opportunities for improving the sustainability of low-income urban households by focusing."— Presentation transcript:
SCHOOL OF EARTH AND ENVIRONMENT An investigation into the potential opportunities for improving the sustainability of low-income urban households by focusing on home energy efficiency and local food production Josh Prior 1, Damian Howells 1, John Barrett 1 1 School of Earth and Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK Background to the project The energy use habits, consumption patterns and leisure choices of those in the UK’s lowest socioeconomic strata are quite different to the rest of society (Jenkins et al. 2011) and the information given to these people should reflect these differences. Up to the present the Government’s position has, for the most part, been to recommend blanket measures that are appropriate to all; such as the recently launched Green Deal (DECC, 2010). However in many social housing cases this does not offer value for money, either for the consumer or towards government climate change targets. Flow Chart of Methods Sustainable Consumption First many have researched and suggested improvements in different aspects of sustainable consumption such as carbon accounting, ecological foot-printing, input output analysis (Druckman and Jackson 2009, Caird and Roy 2006) and ethical sourcing (Barnett et al. 2005, Bray, 2011) but none have tailored this advice to benefit social housing tenants. Sustainable Communities Second, authors have expanded sustainability and low carbon living from the individual micro-level to full scale communities; focusing on closed loop systems, reducing reliance on imported goods all the while acknowledging the three pillars of sustainability; (Agyerman, J, 2005, Department for International Development, 1991) again without specific advice for lower income groups. Disadvantaged Communities Third, others have investigated the lives and behaviours of financially restricted households looking at consumption, fuel poverty and adaptive capacity (Jenkins et al. 2011, Burningham and Thrush, 2001) but none have chosen to formulate an action plan for these types of communities. Current Literature Methods and Main Findings The aim was to create two representative, distinct and robust data sets that allow advanced mathematical and literary analysis where findings could cross-reference each other and be triangulated through literature (Dale, 2011; O’Leary, 2010; Weiss, 1995). These where: 1.A carbon and ecological footprint of the community using the REAP-Petite computer model. Each resident was given the opportunity to complete the questionnaire which created a representative community footprint. This identified that the proportionally high financial and environmental cost associated with energy and food could be reduced in a triple-win scenario. 2.Having identified food and energy as avenues for further research, the project returned to the community holding interviews with residents regarding their attitude towards food and energy related projects which would culminate in sustainable outcomes. This identified that residents actively wanted the space to grow their own food and increase the insulation and so heat retention of their properties. References Blue = Quantitative Red = Qualitative Purple = Literature 6 Recommendations and Conclusions Providing allotment style spaces to grow fresh healthy food can: Reduced financial outgoings leaving more to spend on children, skills or leisure (Glickman, 1999) Build resilience into vulnerable communities (Wright, 2010) Reduce CO 2 aiding climate change targets (Kerckhove, 2012) Increase food security and food sovereignty (Haliweil, 2012) Provide physical and mental health benefits leading to NHS savings (WHO, 2000) People with healthy diets have decreased absences from school and work (Burningham and Thrush, 2001) Cleans polluted city air by growing plants (SEPA, 2014) Generate jobs in sustainable community building (Finley, 2013) Providing low-cost insulation techniques for a warm efficient house can: Reduced financial outgoings leaving more to spend on children, skills or leisure (Watt, 2009) Reduce CO 2, aiding climate change targets (Ireland, 2008) Provide physical and mental health benefits leading to NHS savings (Wright and Fischer 2003; Evans et al 2000) Increase comfort in the home (Power 2008) Offer some protection to energy price rises (DENA, 2013) Reduced damp mould and condensation (Burningham and Thrush, 2001) Improve the quality of the social housing stock (Baeten, 2009) Make tenants proud enough to invite friends over (Markus, 1993) These measures could offer substantial gains in the standard of living for low-income communities, decoupling prosperity from CO 2, building physically and mentally healthy communities while protecting the global and regenerating the local environments. 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Oxford
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