European Network for Research, Good Practice and Innovation for Sustainable Energy
ENERGISE is an innovative pan-European research initiative to achieve a greater scientific understanding of the social and cultural influences on energy consumption. Funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme for three years (2016-2019), ENERGISE develops, tests and assesses options for a bottom-up transformation of energy use in households and communities across Europe.
What is the issue?
Scientific research and public policy in the field of energy consumption has primarily focused on drivers towards greater carbon efficiency. However, such an approach does not consider the long-term success of such measures within existing energy cultures where short-term efficiency gains may be wiped out by increasing overall consumption over time.
ENERGISE recognises that cultural change is a key ingredient in successful energy transitions. Individual energy consumption is a function of who we are, where we come from, and the socio-cultural and material contexts in which we live. Societal norms and routines with regard to work, education, family life, consumption and recreation greatly determine our patterns of energy use as well as our ability and willingness to change those patterns. Without a comprehensive understanding of these energy cultures, public policy measures to reduce energy consumption at the individual or household levels are likely to fail.
Research Strategy – A Living Labs Approach
ENERGISE adopts a Living Labs approach to directly observe existing energy cultures in a real-world setting and to test both household and community-level initiatives to reduce energy consumption. A comprehensive review and classification of household and community energy initiatives from 30 European countries provides the foundation for the development of two prototype ‘ENERGISE Living Labs’ designed to capture influences on individual and collective energy consumption. Data collection before, during and after the roll-out of 16 living labs to eight partner countries will be instrumental in contributing to the design and assessment of future energy consumption initiatives across Europe.
Summary of Objectives
ENERGISE’s primary objectives are to:
- Move beyond existing sustainable consumption research by developing an innovative theoretical framework that fuses social practice and energy cultures approaches,
- Assess and compare the impact of European energy consumption reduction initiatives,
- Advance the use of Living Lab approaches for researching and transforming energy cultures,
- Produce new research-led insights into the role of routines and ruptures in shifting energy use towards greater sustainability,
- Enhance multi-way engagement with actors from society, politics and industry and effectively transfer ENERGISE’s outputs to further the implementation of the European Energy Union.
The ENERGISE consortium includes seven partner universities as well as research institutes, enterprises and NGOs from Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
The project is further supported by organisations and agencies committed to sustainable energy consumption such as Energy Cities, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), the Hungarian Business Council for Sustainable Development, Community Energy England, the Sustainable Energy Agency in Ireland, E.ON Hungary, the Buurkracht initiative (by Fudura/Enexis) and SCORAI Europe.
Contact: Julia Backhaus