ProjectZero & Noordenveld explain the Stronghouse approach

12 January 2022 - Published by Deirdre Buist
In the coming years, citizens and communities will play a crucial role in the energy transtion. Within the North Sea Region, Stronghouse supports sustainable housing for strong communities by redesigning measures to motivate and facilitate homeowners on their energy renovation journey. How? We now have a short film explaining our approach - people are central.

With 26 partners from 6 European countries, Stronghouse works to improve the current supporting strategy by focussing on the unique situation of each homeowner and not only on technical solutions.  The consortium is developing, improving and sharing tools, and  working with so-called Personas  to guide the retrofit Customer Journey.

Stronghouse intro film

Stronghouse has produced an introductory film explaining this approach, using examples from two of our partners to illustrate. The Dutch municipality of Noordenveld and the Danish city of Sonderborg, each with their own ambitious goals in terms of the energy transition and carbon reduction, share their stories.

Behaviour & motivation

Sonderborg, a frontrunner in the energy transition, aims to be CO2 neutral by 2030. Anne Branderup explains the ProjectZero method in terms of involving homeowners. “We focus on behaviour and understanding motivations, consider their daily lives, family circumstances, life phase and level of  social engagement, for example. Comprehending this diversity  is fundamental to gaining insight into what incentives activate people to consider investing in the energy renovation of their homes. Working with Personas is a very useful tool in this regard. This helps us to see different perspectives and effectively adjust support measures to fit individual needs."

Stakeholder engagement & training

"Some homeowners may also need more support  when applying for a bank loan to finance energy efficiency measures," Anne adds. "So we’re working closely with the banks. Furthermore, contractors and tradesmen – often the people  who've already passed the front door, so to speak - are unaware of their role and the added opportunities.  We’re now providing training for this group of stakeholders on how to communicate more with customers and contribute to raising awareness about other  potential energy-saving solutions, depending on the situation."

Structuring the journey

Once the Personas have been developed, the Customer Journey helps to structure the steps a customer takes.  It’s an end-user approach that starts with awareness and ends, ideally, with implementing energy-renovation plans and enjoying the results. Anne and her colleagues see that once  people take the first steps on a sustainability journey, they want to continue further, for a whole range of personal reasons. ProjectZero has, therefore, recently shifted focus in their Stronghouse project to concentrate more on that first step - raising awareness.

Energetic neighbourhoods

Roy Stavenga from the Municipality of Noordenveld also appreciates the value of working with Personas and the benefits of working from the people's perspective.  In the Netherlands, one and a half million houses must be disconnected from natural gas by 2030  As  Project Leader Sustainabilty for the Muncipality, he has set up a project bureau together with the Energy Cooperative Noordeseveld. This Energieke buurten (Energetic Neighbourhoods) supports an enthousiastic group of citizens who are on their way - together with their neighbours - to making their  community more sustainable. Insulating private homes is one of the spearheads of this project.

All about people

“ The energy renovation of homes is about financing, about technology, but most of all it's about people,” says Roy. “Everyone has their own motives for choosing how and when to renovate and we try to support them when making those choices. For example, in Roderwolde, one of our Energetic Neighbourhoods, there is great social cohesion. The people feel an attachment to each other and their environment, and they want to tackle things collectively - including the energy transition. Together with the Energetic Neighbourhood Roderwolde, we’re making  plans for and with the villagers –  that’s an energizing process in itself!”

Get the picture

Climate Change, Europe, Paris, CO2 Emissions, Energy Transition, Renovation Wave, Interreg North Sea Region,  Stronghouse, 26 partners, Sonderborg (DK), Personas, Customer Journey, Noordenveld (NL), Neighbourhoods, Energy Communities.

Do you get the picture? Take a look at this film to see what the connection is and find out more about the Stronghouse perspective.