How social housing tenants respond when their homes are made more energy efficient
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Social housing is an important form of support for many vulnerable households. As well as requiring physical accommodation, these households also need heating, lighting and other basic services. The social welfare system provides many people with income supports, but there are also targeted measures to help with particular aspects of housing quality. This study examined the effects of subsidies that are mainly intended to improve household energy efficiency but which confer multiple benefits on vulnerable households. Our aim was to learn more about how social housing tenants react to these measures; in particular, when social housing is made more energy efficient, do the tenants tend to reduce their spending on energy services or do they maintain their spending and enjoy more thermal comfort? Both of these behaviours offer benefits to the households, but the balance between them has implications for the achievement of other public policy objectives. For example, reducing energy use would advance climate policy goals, while taking more thermal comfort should improve public health.