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"Bet to win!" - the climate competition between municipalities and their citizens (ENERGY NEIGHBOURHOOD)

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Based on the idea of the forerunner project: ‘Klimaatwijken’ (climate neighbourhoods), Energy Neighbourhoods transferred the successful project to the European level with the intention to bring the Kyoto Protocol closer to the people - into their living rooms and their communities. For this purpose different European municipalities offered their citizens a bet. Groups of private households or institutions formed so-called ‘Energy Neighbourhoods’ and tried to save as much energy as possible in the six months time of the bet. They were supported by volunteering ‘Energy Masters’ who were trained during the project and forwarded their knowledge to the households. Each Energy Neighbourhood that saves 8% or more energy in the given time were awarded by the municipality. The best European energy savers were invited to a European prize gala in Brussels. The project strived for increasing awareness and enthusiasm to save energy in households, the competition between the households and the bet with the cities stirred up the debate and the motivation of the participants.


  • Transfer of successful forerunner project "Klimaatwijken" to new countries and extension in Belgium as well as adjustement of the online tool for households.
  • Almost 6000 households from 9 different countries in Europe took up the challenge to show that it is possible to have a large impact on energy use and climate protection while saving money.
  • The Energy Neighbourhood teams all over Europe achieved an average energy saving of 10% compared to the previous year, using 9,150,000 kWh less energy, saving 3320 tons of CO2 accordingly. All together the groups spent ca. 250.000 Euro (EU ø €/kWh) less on energy during the campaign year.
  • Acquisition and training of Energy Masters who supported the Energy Neighbourhoods.
  • Local PR actions (campaign, climate debate, awarding ceremony), successful dissemination strategies and great media response at the regional, national and European levels. In March 2010, the Energy Neighbourhoods project was awarded with the ManagEnergy Local Energy Action Award, as an excellent model for future European projects in the field of energy and environment.

Lessons learned

  • Transferability and European benefits: The project Energy Neighbourhoods has been well accepted in the countries and a great media response could be achieved. The adaption of the successful forerunner project from Belgium has proven to be an excellent way to share good practices and to establish new ideas in other European countries. The European dimension of the competition between households has proven to be a factor of motivation for participants and cities.
  • Behaviour change does happen at the social level: The social aspect of the project and the commitment of the Energy Masters have been identified as key factors of success for the project. “Natural groups”, such as already existing circle of friends, well connected colleagues worked better than groups that came together only for the project.
  • The project has brought the evidence that small changes can contribute to high energy savings. The measures implemented by the households were often simple changes in their habits. Awareness raising and providing information are important factors, but the motivational and fun features (bet, competition, campaign) are needed for kick-off changes in the daily life’s and to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge on how to save energy and actually changing your attitude accordingly.

Partners and coordinator

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B.&S.U. Beratungs- und Service Gesellschaft Umwelt mbH
Contact point: 
Anke Merziger
Gabriele Zink-Ehlert
0049 30 39042 96
Anke Merziger
+49 30 39042 54
Heinel Thekla
+49 30 39042-66


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In brief

11/10/2007 to 10/04/2010
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