On November 24, the ALIGN4Energy team hosted a successful training event focused on citizen engagement strategies in the energy transition in the built environment. During the knowledge module, 14 dedicated professionals from various sectors - mainly policy makers and advisors in the energy transition - worked together on challenges and solutions to engage homeowners in making their homes more sustainable.
A Day of Learning and Engagement
Paul Voskuilen kicked off the event with an introduction to the ALIGN4Energy program and an explanation of the relevance of the knowledge module. Then, Rosalie Lemmen and Rajaa Bennaoui from the AMS Academy set the stage for a day full of insightful presentations and interactive learning.
After introductions from the program team, participants took the spotlight, sharing their personal experiences and perspectives on engaging citizens or homeowners in the energy transition in a round of presentations. Multiple participants brought up the challenge of reaching and engaging citizens who are less motivated to invest in their homes for the energy transition. Other challenges that were mentioned were how to (re)gain trust from citizens prior to engaging them and what tools are available to activate citizens.
In-Depth Exploration of Citizen Engagement Strategies
The core of the module was dedicated to exploring various aspects of citizen engagement strategies: behavioral personas, their motivations and barriers, and practical applications were thoroughly discussed by experts from TU Delft (Queena Qian) and TNO (Melanie Klösters and Luise Schlindwein). Each segment included a Q&A session, enabling participants to delve deeper into the subject matter.
“It was incredible to see how engaged the participants were. They took all the opportunities to learn more about how to implement knowledge into their daily practice.”
Research Fellow Coordinator & Secretary of the AMS Board
Hands-On Interactive Game: The Gedragstoets
The highlight of the training was the interactive Gedragstoets game, an engaging and practical approach to understanding the behavioral aspects of policy problems in the energy transition. Participants were divided into two groups, navigating through various stages of the game, simulating real-world scenarios and challenges. This hands-on experience proved to be an effective method for understanding the complexity of “the policy problem” in a practical setting. The goal of de Gedragstoets was to come up with (new) creative instruments to better engage homeowners.
Conclusion and Future Perspectives
The day concluded with group discussions about the instruments for engaging homeowners, summarizing learnings and insights, and how to use these insights in practice. It was interesting to see that both groups came up with more or less the same instruments, focused on informing homeowners based on their needs (both collectively and personalized), incentivizing in a fun manner, and making the process of investing in their homes to make it more energy efficient a lot easier.