Encouraging consumers to use more efficient heating systems

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In this short interview Marina Alves, project manager of HARP - Heating Appliances Retrofit Planning – explains the objectives of the project and the support of Horizon 2020 funding to replicate it in five EU countries. 

What is your project about?

The project's goal is to raise consumers' awareness of the inefficiency of their current heating systems. It is important to motivate them to replace those systems before the break down and to support the choice of a modern solution, combining energy efficiency and renewable energy sources. We believe this will accelerate the modernisation of EU’s heating stock and significantly contribute to the compliance of EU’s energy efficiency targets.

What is your biggest challenge and how will you go about it?

The biggest challenge is to reach consumers and raise their awareness about the opportunities of a planned replacement of their old and inefficient heating systems. Our main strength is that HARP is promoted by knowledgeable partners in the fields of consumers' behaviour, energy efficiency, heating solutions and business models. The partners work directly with the consumers and with key professionals who are critical multiplying agents, such as installers, distributors and other heating experts, allowing working through the entire market chain. 

How do you think Horizon 2020 funding will help you in the development of your project?

The Horizon 2020 funding allows the HARP consortium to work at an EU scale, with specific activities in five countries, benefiting from synergies and strong cooperation between experienced partners. Moreover, taking advantage of the energy label for space and water heating, we can mainstream the labelling concept to the installed heating stock. This will allow using a well-known support decision tool to encourage consumers to replace their heating systems with modern, highly-efficient and renewable solutions.  The project will in fact provide an impartial message, based on the energy label and presenting the market solutions that respond to the consumers’ heating needs. A quantified approach for economic and non-economic benefits will bridge the gap between market providers and available national incentives.  

What is your key to success for acquiring funding? What is your golden tip to share with future applicants?

The idea for this project benefits from previous EU projects results and initiatives that addressed the heating market, such as the Label Pack A+ and the FROnT projects.  Building upon existing tools, like the energy label, the consortium will develop a web-based tool to quantify consumers’ benefits for replacing their current heating system.

That said, a good tip is to have an idea that really brings an added value to the general consumer and work really hard to construct a strong and motivated consortium.

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