Changing the behaviour of people in term of their energy habits so that they can save money, energy and reduce their carbon emissions has become a key element in developing a low carbon culture. It is as important for people to adopt pro-environmental behaviour as it is to improve our current technologies. Behaviour change can be tackled at three different levels:
At an individual level, behaviour change is about encouraging green behaviour such as switching appliances off when not needed and understanding how people interact with current and new technologies to optimise their performance, such as the use of boiler controls, solar water heating collectors and photovoltaics systems.
NEF's involvement in growing individual engagement includes some market research with consumers and studies about the interaction between the consumer and their renewable system for example.
A growing approach in engaging with people is to do it through a specific community. Groups led by Champions to encourage change have proved very successful in engaging with a wider and more concentrated audience.
The consumer can benefit for more specific information targeted to their situation, demonstration, information events, etc. There is also a sense of trust of getting information and advice through peers, which helps to shift people's attitude and encourage them to take action. Specific engagement programmes can also be accelerated through contests and campaigns. NEF is working on numerous projects and research programmes to support communities and study about the best methods in engaging with groups of people.
It is not just about engaging with people at home but also through work that can make a significant change in reducing our overall carbon emissions. Furthermore, initiatives taken at the work place to reduce energy needs can influence individuals to do the same at home and vice versa. NEF has a full engagement programme to work with organisations in empowering their workforce make a difference.
Thinking Energy (E.ON)
NEF is working in partnership with E.ON and Milton Keynes Council on a Smart Homes project called 'Thinking Energy'. We will be running a series of trials from autumn 2011 until winter 2013 in various areas in Milton Keynes and are currently recruiting volunteers to participate in the E.ON trials. This project will help us better understand energy production and use in the home hence save energy and future proof our homes from tomorrow's energy challenges.
Project Website: Thinking Energy
Local United brings together and supports community activists who are setting up social enterprises to address the challenges of peak oil and climate change. It aims to speed up the rate at which good ideas are adopted by community groups motivated to build low-carbon economies.
Project Website: Local United
Smart Hooky (Western Power Distribution)
This new and innovative project with Hook Norton Low Carbon Limited in partnership with Western Power Distribution will allow you to view your data on a web portal and compare it with the highest, lowest and average usage across the village for similar types of properties and number of people in the house. This will help you assess whether you can save money and reduce your electricity consumption. Only you will be able to view and access your data and your personal information is protected.
Project Website: Smart Hooky
E-Car Club (Sustainable Ventures)
The E-Car Club pilot scheme is an initiative from Sustainable Ventures - in partnership with the National Energy Foundation - to test the feasibility of implementing an electric car share scheme within selected communities across the UK. Initially 6 to 8 communities will be selected to be surveyed, which will then be narrowed down to 3 to take part in the trial in the first half of 2012.
Project Website: E-Car Club
Cambridgeshire Renewables Infrastructure Framework (Cambridgeshire Horizons)
The National Energy Foundation is currently delivering the Community aspects of the financial analysis and delivery pathways mapping as part of the Cambridgeshire Renewables Infrastructure (and low carbon energy) framework (CRIF) in partnership with Camco. As part of this work we have investigated the options for financing community-led renewable energy generating schemes in Cambridgeshire and the applicability of finance options at a range of different community energy scales; the impact of the barriers and constraints of the key opportunity sites and the incentives for investment in community renewable energy schemes.
The outcome of this work will be a community delivery pathway, to support delivery of community-led renewable energy schemes in Cambridgeshire.
Project Websites: CRIF Mainsite and
Solar Water Heating Field Trial (EST)
This project with the Energy Saving Trust aimed to assess the behaviour and satisfaction of householders who have had a solar water heating system installed. The systems are also being tested for their performance. In total 74 people were surveyed either through an online questionnaire, by phone or face to face.
Project Websites: EST - SWH Field Trial and
Marketing Campaign: Do you care enough about Climate Change? (DEFRA)
This DEFRA funded project involved a national marketing campaign, in association with Cooperative stores across the whole UK, a major exhibition in thecentre:MK where we filled 1,440 sqm of floor space with renewable installers, electric vehicles and other environmentally friendly products. A website was developed to inform householders in Milton Keynes about climate change and change their attitude so that they believed they could make a difference. We ran a survey before and after the campaign to see how people's attitude had changed and measure the impact of the campaign. Measurements of recall rates led us to believe that the campaign reached approximately 1.1 million people.
Milton Keynes Low Carbon Living Initiative (Milton Keynes Council)
The NEF has worked with Milton Keynes Council since autumn 2008 to develop and implement a long term community wide carbon reduction campaign aimed at engaging individuals, communities, businesses and organisations in addressing the issues of climate change, specifically to reduce CO2 emissions.
Project Website: Low Carbon Living