May 26, 2009
Voluntary residents trained to be 'energy experts'
households, multi-apartment buildings
Summary of the case
Energy expert is as programme co-ordinated by the Centre for Energy Efficiency (Motiva). The aim of the programme is to generate energy efficiency at the household level by training ordinary people to act as energy experts within the dwellings they live, whether it is rental or owner-occupied housing. Motiva is a government owned limited company formed for energy efficiency promotion. It operates the programme at the national level and facilitates energy expert action by maintaining energy educators’ network, providing information and informa-tion services for the expert programme.
Energy experts are volunteer tenants/residents who have been trained to be active in energy issues in the building where they live. Experts can monitor sudden changes in the energy, electricity and heating consumption within the building. They also provide advice and assis-tance to other residents/tenants about more efficient energy and water use practices. They also act as contact persons towards the housing organization and the housing management company and vice versa. Experts do not perform actual repairs or instalment of appliances. They concentrate on dissemination of information, advice and being focal contact point between housing organization and tenants/residents. As they have called themselves, they could be considered as “cultural ambassadors of wise energy use” (VVO 2003).
Energy experts’ activities have proved to be successful. Motiva has reported that in the build-ings where there have been active energy experts an average increase of the energy conserva-tion for heating of 5 %, 10 % decreases in electricity consumption and 20 % in water usage have been achieved. The results are based on the research project Energy Conscious Housing , in which information on energy expert activities was collected (www.motiva.fi). These kinds of increases in energy conservation could have a significant effect in Finland, where 40 % of the utilities charges for housing organizations consists of water and both heating and electric-ity costs. Of the total energy consumption of Finland, residential space heating forms 13 per-cent; this amounts to approximately 38.5 TWh annually (NEEAP 2007).
The programme was developed together with Motiva and social housing organization VVO in 1993 and it has been ongoing since 1995, when the first experts were trained. VVO is by far the largest social housing organization with almost 38 000 tenements and 66 000 tenants.The company also constructs dwellings and sells them to different housing actors. All together Motiva and the expert trainers’ network have trained over 3 000 energy experts in Finland, and for example housing organization VVO has organized training for over 700 energy ex-perts since 1995.