In Central Eastern Europe the poorest rural households often face energy poverty, which means that they cannot adequately heat their homes, or can only do so by spending disproportionate amounts of their income on heating. They typically heat with wood, as often they have no access to gas and district heating networks. They live in houses that are in bad condition with very poor heat insulation and without the means to buy more efficient and more expensive heating equipment. Therefore a poor family needs considerably more wood to heat their home than a better-off family would in a same sized house, while they also face rapidly increasing prices of firewood. 

Energy production from biomass is the most important source of renewable energy in most of Central Easter Europe  as well as of fine particle emissions (PM10 and PM2). While wood as an energy source is considered almost CO2 neutral due to the carbon stored by the trees, considerable CO2 emissions are released at the time of consumption which adds to GHGs in the atmosphere.

The energy transition in the EU foresees a high technology future including smart infrastructure and advanced renewable energy systems. However these assume a certain degree of  financial and material status which is far from the realities of CEE households relying on solid fuels. Therefore it is important to specifically include solid fuel user households among the beneficiaries of energy transition by supporting them in upgrading their heating methods. 

At the CEESEN conference in May, Anna Bajomi energy poverty expert at Habitat for Humanity will talk about these topics as she presents the results of the study “Fuel of the poor – household biomass is Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania”, written in the frames of the LIFE- BiO-BALANCE project. 


Anna Zsófia Bajomi is an energy poverty expert at Habitat for Humanity Hungary (HfHHU) with a background in social policy and urban planning,  working on energy transition, energy poverty and solid fuel user households. She is also a PhD candidate at the Polytechnic University of Milan.



Habitat for Humanity works in 70 countries around the world, HfHHU was established as an independent branch in 1996. HfHHU’s mission is to see everyone live in decent, affordable and safe housing. We deliver pilot projects and provide renovation schemes and social services to people in vulnerable housing situations, and amplify our impact through advocacy and research activities, focusing on energy poverty among others.

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