Stronghouse prolongs success - Supporting real action

02 December 2021 - Published by Deirdre Buist
The latest climate change data from the ICCP has underlined the urgency of an energy transition and a global realization, as seen during the COP26 Conference in Glasgow, that direct action is needed now. However, the urgency of energy renovation is not just a top-level policy issue. Working from the ground, more and more citizens, more and more homeowners, see the need for a sustainable energy shift and renovation - they are calling for action! Stronghouse is supporting these citizens, bringing global and local goals together.

As indicated by the recent approval of our third progress report, Stronghouse is prolonging its success by facilitating real action. The partners’ relentless commitment to homeowners and neighbourhoods in taking their initial steps on the energy renovation journey shows significant progression, as they overcome the limitations of online collaboration with enthusiasm and professionalism. These key factors have contributed to the ongoing delivery of tangible results and, with  7 new partners joining  the Stronghouse forces last June, we aim to make even more impact.proud of.

Raising awareness

The path to sustainable renovation starts with awareness and Stronghouse efforts are geared towards raising this awareness amongst individual homeowners and showing them they can make a difference – not just for their own home comfort and energy bills, but also for the climate. Therefore, the Stronghouse awareness strategy involves several aspects; not only of the relevance of homeowners’ potential energy renovations for CO2 reductions, but also of the technical and financial possibilities, where to apply for grants and contract tradesmen and technicians.

Digital tools & design

The Renovation Wave and Digital Transition are high on the European agenda – and can go hand in hand. At the start of the homeowner’s customer journey, digital tools can play an essential role – making information more accessible and easier to gain insight into those first steps towards renovation. Stronghouse partners are working with local stakeholders to develop new digital tools and adjust existing ones. For example, based on partner input, the Robert Gordon University has now produced a comprehensive research analysis of existing tools to investigate which tools work, how they can be improved and how their impact can be enhanced to create optimum effect.


At this stage of the project, the Stronghouse instruments being developed and enhanced include:

  • Spring and Gothenburg University’s online tool for individual homeowners to access green finance. Work is now focussed on action design research and data collection. Intern collaboration is soon to be expanded with Roeselare, iNudgeyou and E.ON.

  • A new transnational design with renewable hydrogen can now start with Vives and new partners Hoogeveen and H2BX

  • atene KOM’s STRONGHOUSE training formats. The first training module has been drafted and structures are currently being fine-tuned. It will be published here soon.

  • The use of National subsidy schemes to attract, activate and enable more homeowners (and stakeholders) - used by Drenthe, Noordenveld and ProjectZero.

  • Hybrid training courses to engage local banks, financial institutes, SMEs and tradesmen - an inspirational approach by ProjectZero to the Customer Journey

  • Visualization and gamification of energy data by Vechta University and the use of a Digital Twin in Roeselare.

Our 5-step approach

There is no one size (or support measure) to fit all homeowners.Therefore, the Stronghouse toolbox includes Personas, user-stories and the Customer Journey to enable homeowners to invest in energy efficiency. A number of partners are also developing, improving and implementing a neighbourhood approach to this. A transnational workshop on Personas has resulted in an enriched perception and understanding of the actors, homeowners and their needs.

Concretely this has led to:

  • An improved neighbourhood approach, as used to activate homeowners in the 'Energetic neighbourhoods' project in Noordenveld (together with the local, citizen-oriented Energiecoöperatie Noordseveld).

  • An exchange of results with other Stronghouse partners during a workshop on 'heat visions' and the transition to local, sustainable heat networks. 

  • The creation of new Personas, together with local social services, to help evaluate the situation of those struggling with energy poverty (e.g. the cooperation between Roeselare and Geotology and their work with non-native speakers). 

  • -The continued use of Personas and the Customer Journey by Noordenveld in their Energetic Neighbourhoods, and additional focus in IGEMO’s thermo-scanning campaigns.

  • Transnational thematic workshop on effective strategies for dealing with energy poverty where partners Drenthe, Roeselare, Bremerhaven and Ghent discussed the topic with the Universities of Groningen and Oldenburg

  • The continued development of a double-facetted neighbourhood approach using personas in Roeselare,  focussing on knowledge and behavioural change without big investments.

  • A prolonged ProjectZero two-track methodology, based on an earlier analysis of homeowner personas and technical research.

Informing & training

The success of the Renovation Wave depends not only on the willingness of homeowners and their access to financial resources, but on the availability of a skilled workforce. This is an issue in all partner countries. ProjectZero, Robert Gordon University, IGEMO and Roeselare take the lead in actively informing and training. Relevant work is also being done on an improved one-stop-shop model (Linnaeus University), the analysis of a funding model (Bremerhaven) and research on how to use the Energy Performance Certificate to increase energy renovation (Vives University).

Expanding the energy network

The impossibility of live meetings and site visits have an impact on the collaboration between partners. However, with frequent online meetings and regular thematic workshops (also inviting related Interreg and other EU-funded projects), Stronghouse continues to share and exchange knowledge, and expand their energetic network. All parties, including 7 new partners are covering multiple aspects of energy renovation.

Stronghouse remains eager to continue its contribution to individual homeowners’ retrofit journey, the Renovation Wave, a sustainable North Sea Region and -ultimately – to combating the negative impacts of climate change.

For further updates and more details of Stronghouse progress you can also follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter or subscribe to the Stronghouse Newsletter.