May 19, 2009
A demand driven approach based on 'Live Energy'
2001-2003, Leidsche Rijn
Summary of the case
The Green Energy Train project ran from November 1st 2001 till May 1st 2003 in Leidsche Rijn, a new district of Utrecht municipality, the Netherlands. The target group consisted of tenants of social housing that had moved into newly built houses. The project targeted energy-relevant behaviour at the household level. Around 45 residents (8% of the target group) have been recruited to participate in the main course. In addition, three activities were organised involving 7 or 8 participants each time. SME Consultants, based in Leidsche Rijn, managed and implemented the project, in close cooperation with the municipal Neighbourhood Centre. The initiator of the Green Energy Train Programme, consultancy AardeWerk, developed the method and delivered the educational material. The project was financed for 167,916 Euro by means of a subsidy granted by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment.
One goal of this project was to accomplish 10% energy saving in households by bringing about lasting behavioural changes among the target groups. This goal has not been reached. Other goals involved the application of the educational method, testing it on its effectiveness, and measuring the impact on participants’ behaviour. These goals have been partially achieved.
The project faced several problems right from the start. Collaboration between project team members was difficult. The project manager SME had doubts about the method and underly-ing philosophy. The people that were locally recruited to become coaches dropped out during the training. Recruitment efforts did not result in the desired numbers of participants. Al-though the method was intended to be demand driven, the underlying approach remained rather present and was not tailored to the particular target group at all (participants had diffi-culties with the lack of concreteness).
Conclusions are, first, that in case there are multiple goals, these should be reconcilable and feasible within the scope. Second, collaboration and trust among project team members is crucial. Mutual expectations, new ideas should be communicated throughout the project. Third, method and materials should be suitable for the target group, the particular local setting and for achieving the stated goals.