Learning tenants to save energy

One of the projects on energy demand reduction that is being presented at the festival is TRIME by the European Federation for Living (EFL) on Wednesday morning 14 June, 09:00-12:30 hrs. We asked Joost Nieuwenhuijzen of EFL what we can expect.

You have a strong background in Social Housing. Can you tell us when you decided to work in the social housing sector?

My passion for social housing emerged when I studied in Amsterdam back in the eighties. By then the city was rapidly changing. Soon I was aware of the importance of strong housing corporations to make a change for the city and for the people living in social homes. I decided to focus my career on social housing, particularly on the policy and organizational aspects of the sector. First I worked at housing corporations in the Netherlands, and, some years ago, I initiated the EFL.

Can you introduce EFL to us? What kind of organization is it?

EFL is a network organization whose main aim is to share knowledge and experiences and to foster innovation across the social housing industry in Europe.

The network is of particular importance for housing associations who like to expand their views and knowledge on their business. Traditionally, social housing has a strong focus on local challenges, but challenges for the future are international. These may include energy saving, circular economy, ageing population, digitalization, shortage of affordable homes, etcetera. Exchanging ideas and solutions with peers from Europe widens views. Our members learn a lot from each other.

At the ISHF, you will present the TRIME project about involving tenants before, during, and after renovation projects of their homes. How does it work?

TRIME stands for TRIas Mores Energetica and is aimed to teach tenants to save energy. In this project, volunteering tenants have been educated as Energy Ambassadors by the housing association. Within their own estate, these energy ambassadors teach other tenants how to save energy most effectively and reduce their energy bills quite easily. After all, it’s also a way to change lifestyles towards less energy consumption.

The TRIME project has been developed by a team of EFL members. The project is coordinated by the London based housing association, Clarion. In the Netherlands, Eigen Haard and Havensteder partner up. The presentation of the project is being led by Eigen Haard.

Can you tell us about the importance of the TRIME project?

As the real estate sector in general is responsible for 40% of the CO2 emissions, the housing sector offers big opportunities to save fossile energy use. Although investments to make homes more energy efficient through renovations, insulation, and use of renewable energies helps a lot, the total effect can be much higher if the people living in these buildings adapt their behaviour. We need to know more about the stimuli that supports behaviour change, so part of this project is focused on sociological research.

What will participants learn at your presentation?

Participants will hear part of the story of TRIME, but the focus is on the real practices in the Netherlands, such as how involving tenants in social housing is organized with respect to energy savings. In this way, participants can learn from direct experiences of the project. The project is not presented by me, but by the project team of TRIME.

Next to your event, what other ISHF events are you planning to attend?

Surely I like to attend the ‘collaborative housing’ workshop. I hope to learn more from experiences across Europe, how collaborative housing can deliver positive impacts and better connect people in self management. Particularly in the Netherlands, there is a strong aim to develop more organizational forms to respond to the aims of the people and enhance cooperation in projects. I am interested to see how this works in Italy, as Legacoop Abitanti and Fondazione Housing Sociale are hosting the workshop.

And finally, what are your expectations?

I hope to see and learn from innovative approaches from other organizations. With participation from many organizations in other countries, it’s truly international. Highly inspiring event!

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More info about the EFL event on energy efficiency

Register here

Author: Pepijn Bakker

Pepijn Bakker is a Dutch architect who has worked on housing projects in China, India, France, Germany and the Netherlands. Pepijn was initiator and director of the first International Social Housing Festival, a 9 day festival consisting of 45 events and exhibitions, attended by 1300 people, all on the future of social housing. As the world population is growing rapidly, in particular in cities, Pepijn believes that organizing housing systems should be encouraged at all levels. Plese visit Pepijns company website for more information.

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