A closer look at who is promoting energy efficiency in Europe today, however, reveals an even more diverse picture. Energy efficiency is promoted under a variety of headings, including climate change mitigation, sustainability, eco-efficiency or energy self-sufficiency. Moreover, the intermediary organizations working on energy efficiency include a variety of non-governmental organizations, public-private partnerships and regional or sectoral networks.
After painting a synthesized picture of the general problems confronting energy efficiency, our paper discusses the diversity of ways in which new energy intermediaries in old and new member states of the EU are working to promote energy efficiency, and the opportunities and challenges encountered by different kinds of intermediaries. We then turn to analyse the merits of ‘nesting’ energy efficiency within a broader climate or sustainability agenda. This broader agenda provides some advantages for the promotion of energy efficiency, but also some special challenges. We discuss the pros and cons of hosting energy efficiency under a broader agenda on the basis of recent findings from an EC FP7 funded study called CHANGING BEHAVIOUR.
For energy experts and energy intermediaries, energy efficiency is the most logical thing in the world. Unfor-tunately, energy end-users rarely see the world in the same way. For energy end-users, energy use is often ‘invisible' and rarely the subject of conscious decision. Thus, getting to know the end-user target group and finding the best ways to engage users are key issues for energy demand-side practitioners.
We draw on data collected in CHANGING BEHAVIOUR to explore user involvement in energy change. When analysing the ways in which our case programmes had learned about energy end-users’ needs, we found the following approaches:
- Surveys, interviews or group meetings
- Prior research, particular theoretical perspectives
- Experience from prior projects and similar examples
- User-driven project (or pilot project)
- Familiarity and informal interaction with end-users
We found that none of these approaches provides a ‘silver bullet’ to achieve success and change end-user behaviour. The approaches to learning about the end-users reflect slightly different approaches to planning. The paper explores the pros and cons of various ap-proaches to learning about end-users. We conclude that methods for engaging end-users should be context-sensitive and allow practitioners to go “beyond method” – and beyond the view of end-users as passive recipi-ents of approved solutions – to adopt a relational ap-proach to end-users. This means understanding one’s own relation to the end-users and viewing the end-users in a broader dynamic context. Rather than examining and working with isolated end-users, there is a need for tools that address end-users in context.
If our paper is accepted, we will have to remove the paper from this site, but we make it available until then.