Recommendations for Policy Makers

  1. Ensure continuity in policy and energy demand management programmes to make change durable and to support long-term changes, for example, by breaking them down into short-term goals that can be achieved within one electoral cycle.

  2. Support the work of energy intermediaries to change energy use patterns. Energy intermediaries can make an important contribution to change by developing targeted and effective demand management projects. Policies can support this by providing (financial) resources, institutional support and incentives and by encouraging cooperation and sharing of experiences. The work of intermediaries becomes more effective if policies allow and support adaptation of their programmes to specific contexts and in interaction with energy end-users.

  3. Develop a better understanding of different national policy and institutional contexts and how they constrain and enable intermediaries to contribute to policy. Many different people and organisations promote energy efficiency. Effective combinations of these people and organisations may be different across national contexts. European level policymakers in particular should actively encourage comparative understanding of national policy and institutional contexts.

  4. Create new or adapt existing institutions and policy instruments to meet current challenges. Examples of supporting institutions and instruments are certification schemes, technological solutions (e.g. metering and consumption feedback devices), new service providers and non-physical institutions like norms and values. Make use of research findings and practical experiences to learn about the most suitable institution or instrument for the targeted behaviour change.

  5. Develop a better understanding of how different projects and interventions contribute to policy objectives. National policymakers benefit from research that demonstrates how current efforts and successes contribute to policy priorities and from close interaction with researchers and intermediaries.

  6. Encourage evaluation to ensure systematic learning and knowledge capitalisation, for example by providing sufficient funding for evaluation, allowing a flexible approach to evaluation and communicating long-term achievements.

  7. Make use of synergies between ongoing initiatives and changes on different levels and across different policy domains. Energy efficiency priorities should be framed and funded through long-term programmes, on national, local and sector level and should link different policy domains, e.g. health, education and social welfare. Projects should be part of such programmes rather than standalone initiatives. The results of such programmes should be included in energy policy evaluations.

  8. Design policy interventions with a broad focus, paying attention to stakeholders and technologies that may hamper successful, long-lasting change. Support change interventions that simultaneously address technical, economic and social barriers to reducing energy consumption.

  9. Complement energy efficiency investment projects with behavioural change activities. The benefits of new or refurbished energy efficient infrastructure may in part be lost without end-user engagement. Collaboration with intermediaries and researchers adds relevant knowledge and experience to develop supportive activities and to feed user experiences into technology design.

  10. Encourage comparative action research on energy efficiency. Policymakers benefit from research that demonstrates alternative ways to organise action on energy efficiency. Research funding should be devoted to projects that address real-life and topical problems, but also reflect on lessons learned and thus contribute to more theoretical insights.