Insights from the recent workshop: Empowering Consumer Energy Saving and Sharing.

NUDGE recently joined for an online discussion about consumer-driven energy-saving solutions. NUDGE with sister projects (WHY, EVIDENT, newTRENDS), shared insights from our research.

How do we empower consumers and further long-term strategies to meet decarbonisation targets?

Focusing on behavioural change and energy efficiency, NUDGE project partner Anne Kesselring (Fraunhofer ISI) presented key takeaways about effective interventions to shift consumer behaviour.

  • The best ‘nudges’ are ones which require less user effort.
  • For a longer-term impact, we need to build energy literacy into education programs.
  • Factor in the bigger picture when determining what behavioural interventions to make – regulations, seasonality and the energy crisis dominate consumer behaviour.

Also working on behavioural change and energy efficiency, Dr. Paul Liston from EVIDENT shared valuable research about the impact of environmental and financial literacy in energy-saving decisions. He also highlighted the need for a multi-stakeholder approach to help consumers make easier energy-saving decisions. With a slightly different focus, WHY and newTRENDS presented their work on policies and mechanisms for energy demand reduction.

Challenges and Opportunities for Consumer-Driven Demand Reduction.

Experts Antonin Chapelot (Coalition for Energy Savings), Roland Tual (REScoop) and Pablo Blazquez Martin (Cuerva Energia) took part in a fascinating panel discussion.

Some interesting discussion points:

  • On behavioural change: behavioural change is hard to predict in the long term. Antonin Chapelot – we need to take a holistic approach to change current behaviours and offer many solutions (awareness raising, education, financial support.). Roland Tual- although the role of new tech is important, the energy transition is not purely a technical issue. Technical solution providers need to engage more with consumers – Pablo Blazquez Martin.
  • On communities: all three panellists agreed that communities have a crucial role in the energy transition. Local authorities are key players as they organise where energy infrastructure is implemented and support community-level initiatives. Understanding local culture is also essential when implementing measures such as energy cooperatives. As is engaging people from the citizen side – seeing how others in the same community are saving energy can influence people more than ‘outside’ advice.
  • On energy poverty: on the national level, governments still have an important role to play in solving issues such as energy poverty.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the discussion, speakers and panellists reflected on the current state of energy efficiency. While the energy crisis has helped put energy savings ‘on the map’ and raised awareness of the issue, we really need to find long-term solutions, not linked to an emergency situation. Changing how we consume and produce energy is an unprecedented challenge, and we must have a broader societal discussion.