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Prototypes for addressing the housing-energy-nexus

Project description

Addressing inequality to solve Europe’s housing-energy crisis

European societies face an intertwined housing and energy crisis, exacerbating social disparities. Limited affordable housing, coupled with soaring energy costs, deepen energy poverty and housing inequalities. While renovating existing housing is proposed as a solution, concerns persist that it may worsen inequalities. With this in mind, the EU-funded PREFIGURE spotlights innovative policies, markets, and social initiatives addressing the housing-energy efficiency nexus. It aims to understand how innovations can disrupt housing disparities and energy poverty, identify effective housing policies, and mobilise knowledge for sustainable transitions. Through transformative research methods, PREFIGURE seeks evidence-based solutions to guide the green transition, fostering equitable pathways for all.


European societies are confronted with an interlinked housing and energy crisis that is challenging social cohesion. As access to affordable housing becomes limited, inflation and accelerating energy prices pinpoint that energy poverty and housing inequalities mutually reinforce. Within this context, the deep renovation of the existing housing stock is promoted as key policy action. However, despite policy efforts from the EU to the local state, there are growing concerns that the transformation of housing markets may further aggravate the existing housing inequalities and energy poverty.
To offer more equitable pathways to the green transition, PREFIGURE puts the spotlight on existing and emerging individual and collective efforts of policy, market, and social innovation. The project aims at identifying, tracing, analysing and networking emerging and active ‘prototypes of change’ with regard to the housing-energy efficiency/energy poverty nexus. Research objectives are to: (i) offer understanding of how practices of innovation contribute to affordable housing renovation schemes that disrupt existing housing inequalities and energy poverty; (ii) identify how housing policies trigger sustainable housing and energy transitions, how financial incentives for energy-efficient buildings are accessed by different types of owners and tenants, and how different user groups perceive sustainable housing and energy transitions, with a particular focus on income and wealth polarisation consequences on vulnerable groups; and (iii) mobilise knowledge about innovative practices for sustainable housing and energy transitions and co-create evidence-based policy solutions. Method innovation relies on fusing transformative qualitative and quantitative with technological and real-laboratory research to co-create and up-scale knowledge and practices that signal the green transition.


Net EU contribution
€ 765 427,50
76131 Karlsruhe

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Baden-Württemberg Karlsruhe Karlsruhe, Stadtkreis
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Total cost
€ 765 427,50

Participants (8)

Partners (1)