Eva Heiskanen, Mikael Johnson and Edina Vadovics:
Learning about and involving users in energy saving on the local level
European energy policy aims to shift the energy market towards an increased focus on energy services based on end-user needs. This requires a close understanding of the role of end-users and their needs and practices. Based on a European project called CHANGING BEHAVIOUR, we examine the interaction between energy users and energy efficiency practitioners. Using previous cases and our own pilots as data, we uncover the main difficulties in understanding and working with energy users. We argue that formal user research and interaction methods are helpful, yet insufficient for project success or even genuine user responsiveness. Additionally, methods and skills are needed for interacting with broader networks of stakeholders in the user context. Moreover, user responsiveness requires informal interaction with energy users, interpersonal skills and human judgement, which are difficult to develop merely by using better methods.
Heiskanen, E., Johnson, M., & Vadovics, E. (2013) Learning about and involving users in energy saving on the local level. Journal of Cleaner Production, 48, 241-249.