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Energy-Conscious HOuseholds in ACTION (ECHO ACTION)

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Difficulty in family lifestyle changes is one of the biggest barriers that local authorities have to overcome in order to promote and develop sustainability issues in their areas. ECHO ACTION aimed at creating a model of active and voluntary involvement of families, local economic actors and financial institutes, co-ordinated by the local energy agency, who will contribute towards the implementation of local energy plans. This goal was achieved by dividing families into thematic working groups. The project ran on a double track. On one side it addressed families as final users to shift the "demand side" towards more responsible energy use. On the other side it aimed to organise companies and financial institutes to provide relevant services and products to the families. A first round of actions looked at a critical revision of lifestyles and a revision of consumptions, a second one focused on the implementation of low cost solutions and a third one helped those families who intend to realise more complex and expensive actions.

Results

  • Involving and raising awareness of around 1,700 households in an active process of turning their lifestyles and energy consumptions towards sustainability, encompassing high efficiency technologies, renewable energy and alternative solutions for personal mobility
  • Realisation of substantial retrofit interventions on building envelopes and heating plants, and/or interventions for self production of energy at home and/or substantial shift in personal mobility patterns.
  • Creation of local networks of specialised market actors (RUE & RES technology suppliers, distributors, installers), easily accessible via "yellow pages" and capable of providing selected, reliable and ready-to-adopt solutions, in combination with specialised financial packages supplied by "green" or "ethical" banks
  • Creation of at least 10 purchasing groups to negotiate better market prices for specific technologies and plants.
  • Development of a consistent network of at least 40 cities as project 'observer partners' willing to replicate the project in their own territory.
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Lessons learned

  • Converting public interest into actual lifestyle changes towards a low carbon society is challenging.
  • An effective communication campaign and also showcasing best practice proofed to be essential to gain interest of families. Once neighbours learned what participating families were achieving they wanted to join the project.
  • Many families have implemented low cost energy saving measures. Some families are at the moment studying and planning high-level interventions in collaboration with the technology network and the local energy agencies.
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Partners and coordinator

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Contact

Agenzia Veneziana per l'Energia
Italy
Contact point: 
Name: 
Edoardo Tognon
Tel: 
0039 041 5094250

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In brief

Duration:
01/11/2006 to 30/04/2009
Contract number: 
EIHOR/EIE/06/025/2006

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