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Forward-looking socio-economic research on Energy Efficiency in EU countries.

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - HERON (Forward-looking socio-economic research on Energy Efficiency in EU countries.)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2017-11-30

Taking into account that behavioral barriers demonstrated by end users create negative deviations in EE set targets between 5-20% in EU and 20-30% globally , HERON project aimed at facilitating policy makers to develop and monitor Energy Efficiency (EE) policies in building and transport sectors, through forward-looking socio-economic research in six EU and one candidate countries. The research effort lasted for almost three years.
Overall objectives of the project:
1. impact of socio-economic and institutional factors on implementing energy efficiency policies and measures
2. development of energy-efficient pathways to the horizon 2030 and beyond taking into account the socio-economic drivers and the updated energy efficiency measures,
3. contribution to improving energy modeling by incorporating social, educational and cultural factors so as to reflect the end-user behavior,
4. establishment of communication channels between researchers, decision makers of different governance levels and social and market stakeholders.
HERON partners worked on deviations caused by barriers of end-users’ behavior towards EE targets and studied ways of addressing these barriers and reducing these deviations, through effective policies. The developed pathway of the project facilitates its users to conclude with the preferred scenario, among a number of optimal developed ones with the use of the multi-criteria AMS .
HERON process:
Develop EE scenarios;
Define the set of behavioral barriers
Collect and develop a reliable qualitative data base;
Calculate (through the HERON – DST) the impact and total impact factors of barriers;
Calculate the emerging deviations, due to behavioral barriers, on both the input drivers and EE targets, in scenarios’ analysis;
Identify the optimum EE scenario against Environmental performance, Political acceptability and Feasibility of implementation using the multi-criteria AMS;
Conclude with a policy mixture leading to a more effective and preferable EE scenario.
When national reports were ready, national workshops were organized to present the results and discuss with market stakeholders and experts the process and the results, gaining feedback on the produced work and sharing the information of how this new innovative tool can be used in energy efficiency scenarios building.
In addition, a comparative analysis of the barriers and their possible minimization was done, including all participating countries, with interesting results. The outcomes were presented during an international conference, addressing to international and EU experts and stake holders, aiming again, not only to inform, but to received feedback and engage participants into a fruitful dialogue over the barriers and minimization of them.
The innovative outcome, HERON – Decision Support Tool
HERON - DST is a user-friendly software, based on an innovative methodology, minimizing the negative impact of end-users’ behavior in Energy Efficiency (EE) policy-making and leading to the optimum combination of EE technologies and practices.
The problem that had to be faced was to “Overcome deviations in EE targets, created by behavioral barriers demonstrated by end users”. The concept underpinning HERON-DST was to “Quantify qualitative data concerning end-user’s behavior in forms capable to be incorporated into EE modeling input drivers”.
The developed innovative methodology, based on Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), led to the HERON – DST which: allows the calculation of the negative impact of barriers (Impact factor), incorporates these Impact factors in forward looking EE scenarios, calculates the occurring deviation against targets due to these barriers and provides combinations of technologies and practices, allowing the optimization of scenario’s inputs.
Barriers are mapped, merged and grouped into 3 main categories: Social-Cultural-Educational, Economic and Institutional. Then barriers are compared pair-wised and the importance of one barrier over the other is assessed using a 1-9 scale. After the completion of all comparisons, the Impact factor for each one of the identified barriers is calculated.
The Impact factor is a numerical outcome, expressing the contribution of the concerned barrier in preventing the achievement of EE targets. EE technologies and practices are linked with the relevant barriers through their Total Impact factors that are provided by HERON – DST. Occurring deviations are calculated. Options for reducing deviations through the optimum combination of EE technologies and practices and the minimization of the impact factors leads to optimized outcomes. Outcomes are available to be used as inputs to EE modelling.
The methodology consists of six steps, starting with mapping, categorizing and merging the behavioral barriers to conclude with the incorporation of Total impact factors in the forward looking EE modeling.
HERON - DST material available at:
Case studies:
HERON DST free of disposal– ask here:
HERON was selected by the European Commission as good practice project, incorporating social sciences and humanities in HORIZON 2020 projects, after a screening procedure with the participation of 500 project coordinators.
The importance of its outcomes is quoted in an EU Commission Staff Working Group Document (SWD/2016/0404 final - 2016/0376 (COD) (Document 4, Chapter 6.2 p. 95)).
HERON is disseminated among the twelve member states of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation organization while it is planned to be implemented in the process of promoting EE programmes through GCF procedures.
During the last months of its implementation the HERON partners focused their efforts in disseminating more intensively and in achieving the foreseen expected impacts by presenting and receiving feedback from their participants, as experts and national policy makers and stakeholders, regarding the policy recommendations.
Impact contribution of HERON
1. Promotes economic growth and supports jobs in the economy: by allowing the development of more effective scenarios for energy efficiency. More effective policies that support energy efficient investments, allow the transition to a green economy under which opportunities for new job positions are foreseen.
2. EU expertise in energy efficiency issues: methodology/software are innovative and EU origin. Developed scenarios using the HERON findings have as a significant element the use of energy efficient technologies and practices. These with the implementation of the appropriate policy instruments and funding mechanisms reinforce the EU expertise in such issues.
3. Improving resources efficiency: Developing relevant policies and achieving less use of energy has direct impact on resources necessary for generation capacity and energy imports.
4. Benefits for consumers: The HERON work was oriented towards the behavior of end-users. The effective design of policies – using HERON findings - that support the consumers’ behavior change will offer benefits to them (consumers).
5. Supporting innovation: The effective design of policies – using HERON findings – will affect efforts for producing innovative technologies.