The Impacts of Energy Poverty on Well-Being in a Small Town in Atlantic Canada

April 28, 2023 – April 28, 2023
02:00 pm – 03:30 pm

Join EnGRG for the last in their 2023 webinar series, Health x Energy!

In Atlantic Canada, almost 2 in 10 households are spending more than 10% of their after-tax income on home energy services. This proportion increases to 30% when considering an energy burden that is over twice the national median ratio of energy expenditure to household income. Despite the high prevalence of energy poverty, attention to energy poverty in Atlantic Canada, and in Canada more generally, is nascent. In the Town of Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, almost 40% of households are facing energy poverty. The Town is tackling energy poverty head on, implementing Energize Bridgewater, a multi-component and community-wide program aiming to reduce energy poverty by 20% in 2026. To provide the Town of Bridgewater with baseline data on energy poverty before the full implementation of Energize Bridgewater, a survey was conducted to assess the extent of energy poverty, to identify who is most at risk to be exposed to energy poverty, and the impact of energy poverty on daily life and well-being. The survey is guided by an integrated knowledge translation (iKT) framework, an approach to research that applies the principles of knowledge translation to the entire research process. Within iKT, knowledge users are involved as equal partners alongside researchers in the research, with the goal to conduct research that is more relevant to, and likely to be more useful to, the knowledge users. Each stage in the research process thus present an opportunity for significant collaboration between academic researchers and knowledge users. With this paper, we aim to answer the following questions: What is the prevalence of energy poverty in the Town of Bridgewater? How does energy poverty impact everyday life? Are there gender differences? To answer these questions, specific research objectives are to: quantify the prevalence energy poverty using a range of indicators, including a consideration of the double energy burden (home and transportation); determine which socioeconomic and housing factors are associated with energy poverty; examine the impacts of energy poverty on well-being [self-rated health, self-rated mental health, stress in day; life satisfaction, and social support] and explore the gendered experience of energy poverty.

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