The project arises from the need for a transformative process in our society to mitigate and adapt to the effect of climate change. While proposals to reduce energy use in buildings have typically focused on the physical, technological or economic aspects of the built environment, more recently, the various European directives on energy efficiency in buildings argue that the reduction of energy consumption is affected not only by how buildings are designed and built, but also by how they are managed and used.
The Department of Housing, Urbanism and Activities Services of the Diputació de Barcelona acquires a fundamental role in promoting the rehabilitation and energy improvement of the housing stock park and the role that the local world plays in this process. For this reason, the Housing Office of the Diputació of Barcelona is reinforcing the support that offers to the local government to foment and activate processes of rehabilitation and energetic improvement of the residential park.
The owners are responsible for renovate and improve the buildings, and most of the residential stock in Catalonia is owned by individuals, so part of the actions developed by the Housing Office is aimed at sensitize the public about the advantages and the need to renovate the building and housing in which they live and by informing them of the support they can receive from the local government.
The aim of the project is to provide citizens with tools to get to know better their own building and home, and generate learning about improving home habits, and the logic of investing in the renovation of residential buildings, which should help optimizing the energy bill and improving comfort at home.
The project consists in a virtual platform through a survey-return.
The framework of the survey is born from the project “Hard-to-reach Energy Users” of the International Energy Agency, which aims to identify, define and prioritize the public HTR (Hard-to-Reach), and design, measure, and share effective strategies to engage those audiences to achieve energy, demand response, and climate goals, as well as satisfy energy access needs and social and environmental equity.
The survey is part of the “Energy Cultures” research project promoted by the Centre for Sustainability at the University of Otago in New Zealand, which conducted a survey of 2.400 households with the aim of collecting and interpreting data on beliefs, material aspects and energy-related practices in New Zealand households and being able to segment the population based on these attributes.
Reducing the use of energy in buildings requires not only changes in the nature and materiality of buildings, but must be driven from a broad spectrum of our culture and society (Janda, K. (2011). ). Buildings don’t use energy, people do!).
From this perspective, the theoretical model used to develop the definition, content and tools of the project has used the conceptual framework of “Energy Cultures” designed by a multidisciplinary team of researchers from different fields such as physics, economics, law, psychology, and sociology (Stephenson, J. (2010). Energy Cultures: A framework for understanding energy behaviours).
From this approach, the agent –property, tenants, administration, neighbourhood communities, etc.- resides in the centre of the analysis or proposal to be designed, and it is in him that all the aspects related directly or indirectly with energy and are classified for study in four sections: beliefs; practices; material aspects; and external factors.
The work consists in the development of an online tool accessible via web consisting of a platform in the form of a survey-return, aimed at all households in the municipalities of the Barcelona region. As the questions are answered, the tool displays a series of personalized tips based on the answers.
The tool is developed through a didactic sequence structured in five modules:
At the end of filling each of the modules, all the tips are joined together with a more detailed explanation of their contents. For this purpose, there is the option of downloading a dossier of each module in pdf format to be able to print its contents.
The secondary objective of the survey is to provide new information to the administration at the level of citizens’ energy culture, through characterizing households in relation to their practices, beliefs and physical aspects, and defining profiles of users in clusters. The diagnosis of the energy culture of each household obtained through the survey should explain the behaviour of people with respect to energy.
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