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Step by step commitments for energy saving

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - STEP_BY_STEP (Step by step commitments for energy saving)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2016-08-31

Step by Step aims at reducing energy consumption of households and encouraging to invest in energy efficient products and/or high quality renewable energy products. This is done by provoking behavioral change through intensive accompaniment of participating households.
The world is facing increasingly scarce raw materials and traditional energy sources, creating an upward pressure on energy prices. Moreover, climate change induced by massive use of traditional energy sources, is to be stopped to prevent a worldwide catastrophe. A transition from our current energy system to a sustainable, alternative is unavoidable. Optimal energy saving is crucial in this transition.

Step by Step contributes to achieving the EU 20-20-20 targets by reducing energy consumption of households and encouraging green energy investments. Energy saving interventions are launched in 4 European areas: Gent (Belgium), Cefalú (Italy), L’Alcúdia (Spain) and Warsaw (Poland).
The interventions are based on a behavioral strategy and a web based system for behavioral change is being deployed. The households are regularly encouraged to try energy-savings actions. Tailored justifications, commitment and collective challenges are used to encourage energy-related investment.
Step by Step is innovative thanks to its focus on personal contact. Existing campaigns, as mass media campaigns, provide a general awareness but do not provoke large scale change. Thus, a system is put into place to make door-to-door contact with households. During the interview, households answer questions and chose to try 1 to 3 simple actions. Then, participants will be solicited regularly through email or by phone and will be accompanied over a 20 month period towards the adoption of energy-saving practices.

The accompaniment is managed by a web-based system based on a behavioral strategy. Suggested actions are personalised to suit their profile. The actions go from easy (use a lid on the pot while cooking) to more difficult (turn down heating by 1°C) and become finally challenges representing an investment decision (install photovoltaic panels). The actions are assembled in patterns allowing to follow different paths to adopt, step by step, new behaviours. Each household takes its own path.

The overall goal is to maximize the percentage of households of a homogeneous area (a neighbourhood or small city) that adopt energy saving behaviour and decide to purchase energy-efficient products.

Expected results:
- 9.000 households are targeted
- At least 6.300 households are expected to participate
- 80% of participating households are expected to be accompanied over a 20 month period and have successfully changed at least 3 of their habits
- 20% of the accompanied households are expected to take decisions to purchase energy-efficient products
- The project is expected to deliver energy savings of 12% for at least 6.300 households

Expected impact:
- Electricity saved: 12.000 MWh
- Money saved by consumers: 2.400.000 EUR
- Emissions avoided p.a.: 6.317.344 kg
- Avoided cost of morbidity and mortality caused by emissions: 1.804.141 EUR
Recruiting participants:
Operational teams were recruited and trained in order to perform door to door and phone accompaniment.
Accompaniment strategy was defined and communication contents were produced (letters, posters…)

Results of door to door interviews
Interviews were conducted and led to the registration of 6,254 households: 1408 in L’Alcúdia, 1441 in Cefalù, 744 in Ghent and 2661 in Warsaw.
This represents 99.2% of the objective. Door-to-door is still on-going in Warsaw which means that participation objective will be reached by end of September.
- 92% of the approached households have accepted to participate by giving their email address or phone number
- 87% of the approached households have accepted to carry out at least one action
E3D has monitored performance and done quality checks during this phase to reduce number of refusals, improve quantity of contact details gathered…

Participants were contacted multiple times by phone and email to give feedback
- 72% of the participant were successfully contacted and gave feedback on their actions
- 82% of participants decided to carry out at least one energy saving action
- 90% of those who gave feedback carried out successfully at least one of the chosen actions

Collective challenge:
It is a way to promote a sense of community by introducing a common goal. It was already deployed in L’Alcúdia and Cefalù. The goal was to save 13,000 kWh by having as many participants carrying out some actions. In L’Alcúdia 71% of the contacted households agreed to participate and to carry out, on average 2 actions. In 3 weeks it has been estimated that 5,190 kWh have been saved. Cefalù participants just finished at the time of the writing so results are not known yet.

Data analysis:
The protocol of experiment has been written. Control groups have been created in the 4 areas for comparison and evaluation of impact of the program. In L’Alcúdia and Cefalù, data collection is done by energy meters reading in door-to-door. In Ghent and Warsaw, energy consumption should be provided by energy providers.

Dissemination activities:
A Plan for Dissemination has been produced and various communication actions have been carried out: web site, newsletter, participation brokerage evens, press releases... The project has been presented to various cities interested for replication. A twin project has been launched in Marseille.

Project management:
Project governance has been deployed as planned. The following meetings have been held: Kick-off, 3 Management Boards, Monthly calls, 1 partner meeting, 1 Advisory Board
The project achieved great results so far by demonstrating that:
- Using social sciences can allow for engaging 95.8% of approached residents in an awareness program.
- Using dedicated ICT tools can allow for deploying these methods efficiently by people with no skills in social sciences or energy saving extended knowledge. Therefore this allow for deployment at large scale with acceptable costs.
- Using behavioural sciences can allow for making 83% of households committing carrying out energy saving actions. This corresponds to 5,129 households. In total they have chosen 9,671 energy saving actions which was not part of their habits before.
- With the right organisation a local government can successfully deploy the method at large scale.
- This method is based on social and behavioural levers that are not dependant on local culture and can work in any place in Europe. The only requirements are that people have to understand the language and are actually consuming energy and paying for it.
- The project can have societal impact. First, it provides jobs locally for advisors. Plus the project is a unique opportunity for residents to have a dialogue with someone coming from their local government: it enforces the feeling of proximity with their local government. 56% of households think that it is a good initiative led by their municipality.

Expected impact:
- Energy saving of 12 GWh/year
- 1,000 households commit to invest in high quality renewable energy products.