December 8, 2010
The history of energy demand side management (DSM) shows that accomplishing lasting energy-behavioural changes is difficult. The CHANGING BEHAVIOUR project aims at a better understanding of energy-related behavioural change, in order to improve DSM practice. The approach is one of continuous interaction between researchers and energy intermediaries (organisations implementing DSM projects at the micro-level). This collaborative project involves the development of ‘learning tools’ that help intermediaries improve their understanding of the context in which they work and their own role in the process.
The learning tools have recently been tested in six pilot projects and this paper discusses the experiences of two of them. We discuss the extent to which the ‘learning tools’ have encouraged social learning. Although the paper is explorative, we can conclude that the tools contribute to the creation of a setting that is conducive to social learning. Several activities can be helpful for intermediaries to reflect on their own role and assumptions, the targeted behaviour, the target group and the social context of the project. The final toolkit should be sufficiently flexible and context-sensitive to cater for the diverging needs of different intermediaries. In addition, as the pilots indicated, the role of external coaches who encourage the pilot manager to make use of the tools and who take on the role of a sparring partner appear to have been quite significant as well.
Full paper: Breukers, S., Backhaus, J., Mourik, R., Hodson, M., Marvin, S. & Brohmann, B. (2010). PRACTICING LEARNING AND LEARNING IN PRACTICE. Testing learning tools for energy demand side management projects. Proceedings of ERSCP/EMSU 2010.