Meet the Partners: University of Vechta

15 March 2021 - Published by Deirdre Buist
What motivates people to make that move towards a sustainable living environment and actually invest in the energy renovation of their homes? Idealism, money, fear of missing out or keeping up with the neighbours? Engaging citizens is one of the toughest challenges in the energy transition and the renovation wave. Stronghouse partners at the University of Vechta are experts in the field behavioural economic research and will test the effects of monetary and non-monetary incentives to find out more about what triggers a homeowner to change energy efficiency behaviour.

Many people aspire to eco-sustainability and talk the talk. Stronghouse wants to engage with and encourage homeowners to walk the walk - and take real steps towards CO2 reduction and energy efficiency. In the Stronghouse project Vechta University will be the research partner to support beneficiaries in breaking barriers to retrofitting.


Students at the University of Vechta carry out behavioural research

The Stronghouse App

The chair of Management of Social Services aims to carry out a large-scale study analyzing citizens’ individual in-home energy efficiency behaviour, adopting various intervention parameters derived from behavioural economics and incentive theory. A “low-threshold” environmental action plan will be offered to citizens using a corresponding smartphone application - the Stronghouse App. This will provide easily accessible and understandable details of energy consumption measurements on a person’s device,

Social network analysis 

Parallel to this, the Institute for Spatial Analysis and Planning in Areas of Intensive Agriculture (ISPA) aims to apply a social network analysis (SNA) to study relationships between diverse regional stakeholders (homeowners, energy consultations, government, NGOs etc.) affected by energy renovation. This will enhance our understanding of how low carbon retrofit systems can be developed per Stronghouse region. Energy efficiency in each region will be optimized by developing strategies to improve collaboration and speed up the retrofitting rate.


Students at the University of Vechta carry out behavioural research

Local, regional & international cooperation

The University of Vechta is no stranger to international cooperation and has participated in several Horizon 2020 projects as well as the Interreg NSR VB project LIKE! which dealt with building a local culture for digital innovation. Results and experience from previous projects will also be shared with the Stronghouse consortium. Vechta hopes to benefit from cooperation with non-scientific partners in Stronghouse. The University is embedded in the region and plans to benefit from the implementation of other partners activities in a rural context while also exchanging knowledge with regional networks.

The Vechta region itself offers the perfect laboratory for addressing a range of issues that impact the future viability of our global society. This prosperous rural area has a strong profile as a provincial-global player with a unique cultural and social identity.


Read more about Vechta University here

Or the chair of Management of Social Services (in German)  here