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ECN publication
Learning in single & double loops – interaction as key to scientific & practical insights
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Policy Studies 3-9-2010
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-M--10-081 Conference Paper
Number of pages: Full text:
15 Download PDF  

Presented at: EASST_010 conference, Trento, Italy, 2-4 september 2010.

Efforts to reduce energy consumption of private households face a multitude of challenges. Intermediary organisations specialised in the implementation of energy demand-side management (DSM) programmes frequently fall short of achieving far-reaching or long-lasting behavioural changes in their target groups. The European research project CHANGING BEHAVIOUR is developing an online ‘toolkit’ containing theoretical background information and practical activities aiming to improve the success of DSM programmes. This work is carried out in an action research approach, conducted by a group of scientific researchers and a group of intermediaries, i.e. DSM programme managers. Therefore, theoretical analyses have a focus on implementation practices and the ‘tools’ developed are practically tested in six pilot projects. This paper addresses the learning process involved in one of these pilots - the renovation of large multi-apartment building blocks in Latvia. This pilot project aims to increase the number of residents in support of increasing the energy efficiency of their building. The role of the intermediary in this case is that of an energy advisor that provides clear, transparent and relevant information to residents and that supports their decision-making process by improving stakeholder interaction. During the pilot researchers facilitate the testing of the ‘toolkit’ by the intermediary. This is a highly interactive process which has been well-documented throughout the period. Analysing this rich documentation allows us to qualify the learning process resulting from using the ‘toolkit’ and being supported by the researchers. Thereby, this paper discusses the question in how far the researcher-intermediary interaction forms an important aspect in the effectiveness of the ‘tools’ in supporting learning processes. In order to answer this question the rich material sources collected from the onset of the pilot are analysed with respect to the additional benefit of personal interaction during application of these ‘tools’. At the same time the more practical question concerning the autonomous effectiveness of online ‘tools’ for DSM programmes is answered by a substantiated call for process facilitators supporting reflexive learning in DSM programme implementers.

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