A new Horizon 2020-project takes aim to change your actions and the way you think about energy.
Have you ever thought about how your own energy consumption affects our planet? Not just regarding what type of car you drive or how many degrees the thermostat in your house is set on, but how your lifestyle and energy consumption as a whole affect the world and our climate?
The COP21 meeting and the Paris Agreement from December 2015, highlighted more than ever how crucial it is for the future of mankind to prevent the increase in the global average temperature to reach more than 2°C above pre-industrial levels (and even to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels).
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), energy efficiency is central to any energy scenario that matches this two-degree limit. In fact, by 2035, investments in energy efficiency need to represent nearly half of all global energy investment in order to succeed. Accordingly, energy efficiency is a key element in EU’s energy policy.
The short route to getting results, is implementing interventions that have already been scientifically proven to increase energy efficiency in private households. The various efforts and measures to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions are however met with several psychological biases we need to overcome.
– Even though we know that using energy efficiently, we not always manage to do that and we sometimes estimate the effects our efforts can have wrong, say Christian A. Klöckner, coordinator of ENCHANT
Even though behavioral science has offered important knowledge through several small-scale pilots, the need for urgent intervention calls for fast and large-scale efforts. What is more, knowledge and understanding of how interventions based on behavioral science can be managed in real-life situations is essential and need to be developed further. Can what behaviour scientists have studied in their labs really be used out there among millions of Europeans?
Therefore, the new EU-funded project ENCHANT will test established behavioral interventions techniques under controlled, but real-life conditions in an unprecedented large-scale effort. The project will assess existing knowledge, analyse available data in the field and design an intervention matrix. The consortium, consisting of 7 academic partners and 11 user partners, will test the interventions, monitor communication aspects, and consider a variety of psychological biases, while measuring effects.
ENCHANT has partners in Turkey, Italy, Germany, Austria, Romania and Norway, and in addition to academic partners the consortium consists of NGOs, energy companies and municipalities.
– The broad selection of different types of user partners, such as for exampole energy providers, environmental organizations and municipalities allows us to find out, who has the best communication channel for which intervention. After all, we are all in this transition together, states Christian A. Klöckner.
More about the method
The interventions will be developed, fitted, and tested in all partners’ countries, targeting millions of European citizens using a Randomized Control Trial (RCT) approach.
The knowledge created in ENCHANT will be implemented into an algorithm-based webtool which supports decision making relevant for policymakers, energy providers, NGOs and municipalities in designing effective and targeted energy efficiency campaigns. In short, ENCHANT will bridge the gap from knowledge to impact.
– “With its very large target group – more than 8 million Europeans – and the cooperation with our highly engaged and diverse user partners, we hope not only to deliver answers to which energy efficiency campaigns work under which conditions, but also to be able to make a real difference and save substantial amounts of energy already during the project – to the best of our planet”. Christian A. Klöckner, coordinator of ENCHANT
FACTS ENCHANT & Horizon 2020:
Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation with a budget of €95.5 billion. It tackles climate change, helps to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosts the EU’s competitiveness and growth.
Lead partner NTNU, is Norway’s largest university, with more than 40 000 students, and 3500 academic staff members. Many of NTNU’s strong research communities are particularly experienced in interdisciplinary research and working in close partnership with non-academic partners, private and public. The Department of Psychology’s highly qualified staff is engaged in research across a broad range of disciplines, and the research group for “citizen, environment and safety” analyses drivers of environmentally relevant consumption from small scale every day consumption decisions to large-scale investment decisions, many of which are energy related, revealing potentials for behavioural change.
ENCHANT’s consortium consists of 18 partners, from Turkey, Italy, Germany, Austria, Romania and Norway. The project is funded for 30 months, receiving a total of EURO 2.000.000.