About this good practice
Problem: Households and micro-SMEs are considered to be the most vulnerable sectors that are affected by high energy bills and the most in need of professional support to be able to change their lifestyle and behaviours to conserve energy and water.
Context: End-use energy efficiency practices require active citizen mobilisation and this project specifically aims to increase awareness in households and Micro SMEs to bring about behavioural changes and provide targeted hands-on solutions to achieve energy and water conservation.
Implementation: Households and micro-SMEs request an expert’s visit. Trained personnel from the Energy and Water Agency visit the site and perform an assessment of the typical daily energy and water consumption, make a review of past utility bills and take note of all energy-consuming appliances. This allows tailor-made advice to be provided on how the consumer can implement both behavioural and system changes to achieve significant reduction in energy and water consumption.
Beneficiaries: All households and micro-SME businesses.
Benefits: Tailor-made advice on energy and water conservation, information on available support schemes to invest in energy efficiency and renewable energy systems, technical support to solve particular utility bill anomalies or high energy and water consumption. During a visit, an energy and water saving tips booklet and a gift pack are provided. The service is free of charge.
Funding used: €200,000 yearly for travel expenses, gift packs, printing material, internal staff salary and promotional activities.
Human resources: Four trained officers, managed by a Senior Officer and supported by an administrative officer for promoting the initiative are currently employed.
Evidence of success
Consistent annual uptake averaging around 500 visits since 2015 and totalling 3700 visits up to march 2022.
The campaign will be boosted through further promotion, following the positive feedback from households that have benefited from this campaign.
In 2020 and 2021, visits were suspended for long periods due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, assistance was still provided by phone or email. During these two years, the annual uptake was 30% lower than the average annual of 500 visits.
Potential for learning or transfer
Unlike improvement of energy efficiency on the supply side, improving end-use efficiency can only be achieved by involving the end users themselves. Quite often, similar initiatives fall short of providing the human element of interaction, which has proved to be a key prerequisite for success, because it yields higher trust that can then be translated to behavioural change.
This good practice educates households and SMEs to manage their water and electricity consumption in a more efficient manner by making small changes to their lifestyle and habits. It also provides tailor-made solutions to micro-SMEs, which may have different energy demand profiles.
A major part of this initiative is the educational element, more specifically, if citizens change their behaviour, they will adapt these behavioural changes and knowledge into other aspects of their lives, such as the work place, thus creating a ripple effect in favour of decarbonisation.