As part of Task 24 Phase II we first undertake an issues analysis in each participating country (Subtask 6). Here, we work with national experts – the so-called “Behaviour Changers” from the government, industry, research, service and third sectors (Subtask 7) – to identify the country’s top behavioural DSM issues. In Ireland, our funders the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland (SEAI), together with a group of experts, chose to pilot an Energy Saving Kit Programme with public libraries and Sustainable Energy Communities (SECs) as “Middle Actors”. Such Energy Saving Kits usually contain several tools to measure energy efficiency and thermal comfort in the household. In Ireland, the suitcase contains 6 measurement tools to assess current energy use, or determining/fixing the (in)efficiency of:
- heating (radiator key),
- appliances (plug-in energy monitor),
- insulation (thermal leak detector),
- fridge/freezer (fridge thermometer)
- thermal envelope (digital thermometer and humidity metre) and
- water (stopwatch to measure water flow in e.g. shower).
We have been assessing, together with our national Irish experts from SEAI and M.CO, how to better design, implement and evaluate such a pilot. The Irish programme was designed and implemented following a “Collective Impact Approach” (Kania & Kramer 2011) and utilising the Task 24 “Behaviour Changer Framework” (Rotmann 2016, Subtask 8). This means that several “Behaviour Changers” representing Decision-makers (SEAI), Providers (CODEMA), Middle Actors (public libraries), Experts (M.CO and, for Subtask 9 evaluation, the Californian See Change Institute) and the Conscience (SECs) co-created and implemented a pilot that had a common goal, a backbone organisation, continuous communication, mutually-reinforcing activities and shared measurements.
In addition to following a co-creation, collaborative impact and field research approach, the Irish pilot also utilised and tested the Task 24 “beyond kWh” tool (Subtask 9) to collect psychometrically-validated, pre- and post-intervention survey data. This was then triangulated with the (post-only) library survey data and interviews and focus groups. The Irish evaluation and final country reports will be published soon.
Energy Saving Kit Programmes have been around for a couple of decades, starting with a public loan programme in Australia. They found wide and enthusiastic uptake in several countries and states. Similar Energy Saving Kits are also rolled out by US utilities – the difference being that they usually (also) contain energy efficient products that utility customers can keep and install in their homes. As part of the Irish case study analysis, Task 24 undertook a cross-country comparison of Energy Saving Kit Programmes around the world. This was based on a programme review and interviews with programme managers from Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and various US States. Here we present the cross-country case study comparison report and associated summary database. This work will also be presented at a special session on Demand Information at the upcoming BEHAVE conference in Zürich in September.
This work has been funded and supported by the Sustainable Energy Authority Ireland. We would like to thank SEAI and all the programme managers who provided time and insights into their programmes.