Anna Suppa, Isabelle Steiner, Peter Streckeisen
Anna Suppa studied culture studies and sociology at the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zurich as well as social work at the University of Applied Sciences in Bern. Her research focuses on housing and social welfare. She led the research project “A qualitative analysis of the relationship between income and energy poverty and the consequences of energetic retrofits for vulnerable groups” (2017–18) and worked in several welfare and debt counselling services. She therefore has a broad professional work experience with vulnerable groups.
Isabelle Steiner studied Social Work at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW). She currently works as a family and generations expert at the office for Social Security – Canton Solothurn. She was a former research associate at the ZHAW, Department of Social Work and a team-member of the research project “a qualitative analysis of the relationship between income and energy poverty and the consequences of energetic retrofits for vulnerable groups” (2017–18). She researched and taught about migration, integration, welfare, social policy, and youth.
Peter Streckeisen studied sociology, political science and socio-economic history in Lausanne and Zurich. He obtained his PhD and his habilitation thesis for sociology at the University of Basel. Streckeisen currently works as a senior teacher and researcher at Zurich University of Applied Sciences (ZHAW), Departement of Social Work. Among his main topics are social policy, community development, and housing.
OBJECTIVES: The submitted paper focuses on the energy transition and its social and economic effects on vulnerable groups. It raws on an empirical study on behalf of the Swiss Federal Housing Office. This contribution insists on the necessity to overcome he gap between energy policy, social policy, and housing policy. THEORETICAL BASE: The paper refers to intersectionality theory. It elaborates on the notion of energy poverty and takes into account research on environmental justice and environmentalism of the poor. METHODS: A mixed research approach was chosen, combining qualitative and quantitative methods: exploratory literature review and policy analysis; a quantitative survey among 74 experts; qualitative interviews with 10 vulnerable households and with 5 experts; and expert woprkshops. OUTCOMES: The chapter on empirical findings addresses the following aspects: impacts of energy poverty on the overall quality of life; problems due to deficient infrastructure and energy-inefficient housing equipment; discriminatory structures on the housing market; and services offered to persons affected by energy poverty. SOCIAL WORK IMPLICATIONS: The article concludes that a green social work mandate is needed in order to align the energy transition with environmental justice. Recommendations are given regarding energy policy, housing market, social assistance, and services to households affected by energy poverty.
energy transition, energy poverty, housing, green social work mandate, intersectionality