The good practice seeks to enhance citizens’ knowledge of energy savings and demonstrate new technological solutions in the field of smart energy.
The region of Ostrobothnia has the largest cluster of energy technology companies in the Nordic countries. The cluster consists of 140 companies with leading products, solutions and research in the field of smart and renewable energy.
The Energy Challenge puts citizens and users of energy at the forefront of smart energy. On a regional level, the good practice tackles the need to more strongly connect citizens, experts in the higher education sector, and firms acting in the region’s energy cluster. By bringing these actors together, the good practice seeks to enhance the engagement of citizens in developing new ideas in the field of smart energy solutions.
The good practice builds on the idea that private consumers are engaged in a competition where they, during a set period of time, compete, against themselves or each other, in lowering their energy consumption. During the competition the consumers are coached by energy experts.
The competition is documented in a reality-style through video and in text format. The competition is distributed online in five short videos per week.
The produced material is spread through different platforms to show concrete means for how to save energy, to educate consumers on smart energy solutions and to raise “calls to action”.
The good practice provides a platform for cooperation between the following stakeholders: researchers, consumers of energy, producers of energy, and SMEs supplying energy-related consumer products and services.
The good practice requires the involvement of approximately 20 persons per competition. The participants involve private consumers, companies in the energy sector, and experts from the higher-education sector. In addition, resources are needed in order to record the competition (video).
Evidence of success
Decentralized forms of energy production will require future actions, similar to this good practice, which increase the awareness, knowledge and involvement by citizens. The good practice enables a user-centered approach for testing new products, solutions and services. For example, citizens involved in the competition used a smart metering system and contributed to developing new ideas on solutions for visualizing and monitoring energy consumption in private households in an appealing way.
Potential for learning or transfer
The good practice addresses a current and wide-reaching challenge: increasing citizens’ awareness of sustainable development. Existing documentation of the good practice, such as, a manuscript of the competition and strategies for distribution and social media, can be exported.
A good implementation of the good practice is likely to depend on the region’s knowledge in smart energy solutions. In particular, the good practice requires the engagement of companies and experts in this field to inform and coach the participants during the competition. Implementing the good practice also requires expertise in video production and social media.
There are two key challenges to consider when exporting the good practice:
1) the audience needs to build up an interest in the competition in order successfully communicate the results
2) The good practice requires cooperation between and high levels of engagement by actors, such as, citizens, experts in the university and private sector.
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