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Paula Morgenstern (UCL Energy Institute): Challenges to heat metering in poorly performing apartment blocks
Residents of district-heated apartments currently often pay for their heating based on floor space. In this context, the introduction of individual heat meters hopes to reduce household heat consumption by providing an economic incentive for lower living temperatures.
However, many district-heated blocks in the UK do not conform to today’s thermal performance standards and are poorly insulated. Through heat meters, their residents could consequently be charged a cost which is firstly higher than in comparably sized well performing blocks and secondly not fully controllable by them due to a strong influence of building fabrics. This raises problems with fairness, especially in local authority owned blocks where heating costs represent a substantial part of the occupants’ income.
This works illustrates the case of the Brunswick Centre (Bloomsbury, London), a building where the introduction of residential heat meters is anything but a straightforward measure to reduce energy consumption.