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Energy Conscious Consumers

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ECO2 (Energy Conscious Consumers)

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-08-31

The aim of the ECO2 project has been to increase the know-how of energy consumers to make them able to become active energy conscious consumers.

The name ECO2 refers to "Energy Conscious Consumers", but it also refers to the second phase of the transition towards a sustainable energy system, in which not only the system as such has been changed, but also the way we act as citizens and consumers. This is a difficult phase. We act as we use to because we may be conservative consumers - but also because we simply do not know enough about the options we have for a more sustainable energy consumption.

ECO2 has developed the online service ACT4ECO.eu which delivers 5 eLearning themes for decreasing the energy consumption. The eLearning is made for small groups of citizens that want to support each other in the learning process, or for single citizens using the online services in Act4ECO.

ACT4ECO went online in April 2020. At the end of the project 13.000 users had used the platform with a high return rate. The further exploitation of the platform will be taken care of by an ECO2 Community of organisations with an intention to expand the use of the platform to more than the existing 12 languages and to expand the content to more sustainability themes.
The project has explored the segments of users in order to increase the usefulnes for the single users. Stakeholders and gatekeepers towards consumers have been identified for all 9 involved countries in order to be able to collaborate with these on getting the offers communicated to the users.

The platform Act4ECO has been developed, consisting of a website landing page, which brings the users into the thematic eLearning "Actions". These are developed in the online engagement tool EngageSuite.

The actions as such have been developed to the level of storyboards and have then been implemented into EngageSuite during autumn 2019 to spring 2020. After implementation they were tested for functionality, and a pilot eLearning sessions were made to learn from users in order to improve the Actions and maximise the learning outcome.

After the implementation of the platform a main focus has been on upscaling the users and at end of project 13.000 users had visited ACT4ECO.eu. Further, expansion to more languages than the 9 in the consortium was a goal, and 3 additional languages have been implemented (Dutch, Polish and Slovakian). An ECO2 Community of National Nodes in 7 countries has been established and it will after the end of the project seek funding to expand the language reach and the content of the platform.

An evaluation survey has been implemented and analysed, showing that users find a need for ACT4ECO, it helps them - and also providing some hints for improvements in future learning actions.

Policy oriented activities include a "Policy action" asking users for their views about needed policies to support consumer behaviour change, and showing the economic incentives are seen as the most important policy area.
9 national policy seminars and 2 EU level seminars were held with a focus on experts', stakeholders' and policy-makers' view on needed policies. These have been reported in 7 policy briefs providing a rich catalogue of inspiration for policymakers.
It is a challenge for consumers that information about energy conscious consumption is scattered and seldomly validated. ECO2 solves this problem by providing a single access point to a number of eLearning processes, which have been developed by energy experts and validated by other energy experts. This is a remarkable move beyond state-of-the-art, and the hope is that this will attract many consumers, also after end of the project.

The potential impacts can over time be very high, since the themes covered potentially can help a very large number of consumers. In order to live up to the minimum impacts, that ECO2 has set out to achieve, the platform will have to be used by 11.000 consumers by the end of the project - the final number was 13.000 users.

ECO2 has developed a community of organisations that can see the potential in this form of eLearning and it is hoped that this will result in continued development of the platform after the end of the project.
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