ECO2 Energy Conscious Consumers

ECO2 Energy Conscious Consumers

European project

Energy Conscious Consumers ECO2 ( facilitatea a large amount of consumers to become conscious about and improve their energy efficiency. It offers two forms of learning. Either they choose to go alone through an online e-learning, or they choose to be brought through transformative group learning, in which the e-learning system supports the group processes. Together the two – single or group processes - provide attractive approaches for a wide array of consumer segments.

The ECO2 processes are based on “blended” engagement methods, making use of both online and dialogue elements. Consumers are recruited by contacts through social media, consumer media, energy suppliers and other gatekeepers. Segmentation is used to increase the effectiveness of recruitment and to adapt the e-learning processes. The processes are thematic, facilitated by an online ECO2 Platform, based on the online/blended engagement platform EngageSuite.

Each consumer is stepping up a ‘ladder of change’ from motivation to exploration and finally to action. During the process, the user receives information, reflects/deliberates and seeks knowledge and knowledge sharing. The user create their own action plan on the next personal steps to take. ECO2 delivers "actions" on five important themes: the house, smart equipment, energy use/bills, rebound and prosuming.

Additionally, an "action" on co-creation of policies, innovations and designs will be executed and the results communicated to policy-makers and innovators through policy seminars. ECO2 has three phases: ramp-up, pilot and upscaling. Ramp-up makes infrastructures, segmentation analysis, story-boards and production of themes. Pilots test the "actions"with voluntary consumers. Upscaling involves viral recruitment of consumers, expansion to new countries, and collaboration with consumer gate-keepers. ECO2 will continue after end of project by:

1) an ECO2 Community,

2) stakeholder responsibility for the ECO2 Platform. Energy Conscious Consumers (ECO2) project aims at increasing consumers’ awareness of their role in energy consumption and energy efficiency processes.

ECO2 is implemented as a large-scale e-learning system for European citizens, who are supported in the implementation of concrete actions to save energy and make their homes more energy-efficient. It takes the form of a dynamic knowledge-sharing platform (ACT4ECO) facilitating knowledge for consumers on how to use energy wisely. By following the learning paths proposed by ACT4ECO, each user climbs the “ladder of change” from motivation to exploration and finally to action. Community building ECO2 will help energy consumers throughout Europe become conscious about their energy consumption and improve their energy efficiency. Since consumers play a key role in the transition process towards sustainable energy, the project involves and empowers them by transmitting the strategies on how to consume less energy in their daily lives. The main outcome of the project is ACT4ECO, a dynamic online platform aimed at engaging energy consumers interactively either with e-learning tools or transformative group learning within their local communities. As a tool for both educational purposes and community-building, the platform eventually motivates energy consumers to explore various solutions in terms of home improvements and implementation of energy-saving best practices. On the ACT4ECO platform, each user has the opportunity to create his/her own learning and decide which actions to implement.

The platform guides users to take action in five important themes:

  • Change the house: limiting the carbon footprint of the house by improving its energy performance and investing in highly efficient technology options and appliances.
  • Smart consumers: familiarising users with options for controlling their energy consumption by correctly using and understanding ICT energy equipment.
  • My energy consumption: helping users draw links between their daily routine activities and their energy consumption, e.g. by adopting small changes in behaviour that can bring significant improvements.
  • No rebound: avoiding the return to bad energy consumption habits.
  • Make thierown energy: guiding consumers in evaluating if it is worth investing in small-scale energy generation, e.g. by providing information on the necessary technical requirements.

With a budget of over 1 million €, ECO2 project is developed in three phases

  1. Ramp-up: making infrastructures, segmentation analysis, story-boards and themes production.
  2. Pilot: the five 'actions" are tested with voluntary consumers on the ACT4ECO platform. This phase could be considered a user-driven content development process ensuring high-quality usability and relevance of content.
  3. Upscaling: the final step involves viral recruitment of consumers, expansion to new countries and collaborations with consumer gate-keepers.

The final goal of ECO2 is to reach 1.000 consumers in each of the 11 partner countries by the end of the project (March 2021), totalling 11.000 users for the platform. Each user is expected to take at least three actions. In order to reach these objectives, platform users will be motivated, their curiosity will be stimulated and –by implementing at least three actions – they are expected to become more energy efficient. The adoption of this approach has a significant impact on the overall objective of the project, namely:

  • Reducing energy expenditure.
  • Monitoring energy efficiency actions through the platform.
  • Increasing awareness and consciousness of efficiency control.
  • Sharing knowledge in a community, either face to face or online.

ECO2 also aims at developing a set of information and results for users to establish a dialogue with policy-makers and innovators at a European knowledge on energy efficiency issues, and create responsible and environmentally conscious citizens.

The goal is to reach a minimum of 1000 consumers in the 11 partner countries, totaling 11000 users for the platform. If each of these consumers take three actions, they will each save the energy equivalent of 30kg oil, making the expected outcome of ECO2 330.000kg or 4.2~ GWh.

The project started in 2018 and was completed in 2021. It addressed the topics of behaviour, heating and cooling system, household appliances, indoor comfort, information and awareness, quality of dwelling, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

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