Mariëlle Rietkerk, MSc
- Scenarios & Society
ECN part of TNO, Delft University of Technology, Winst uit je Woning, De Energiebespaarders, Woningontruiming Regionaal, the Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan Solutions and various municipalities have started a 'Green & Ease' study into which selection factors influence decisions about green measures in and around the home.
If households want to make climate-friendly decisions, they often run into hassle. Think, for example, of the hassle of cleaning up an attic if you want to insulate the roof of your house. Or the hassle of replacing your gas stove and radiators if you want to switch from a gas-fired boiler to a heat pump. Or the heavy work that awaits you if you want to ensure that the water storage in your garden is more climate-friendly.
The aim of the research is to tempt residents to make green decisions in and around the house. The themes are reducing energy consumption (energy saving), switching to sustainable energy sources (energy transition), and water-robust design of the immediate surroundings of homes (climate adaptation). The study will run until 2019.
The approach to the research is to seduce by removing hassle, making it easier for owners and tenants to take a green measure by offering a Green & Ease concept that takes one or more psychological factors into account. A well-known example of a Green & Ease concept in the field of energy saving is the offer to clean up the attic when the attic is insulated; research has shown that people postpone attic insulation because they are dread cleaning up their attic.
First of all, we will use a questionnaire to find out exactly what hassle people have to deal with when taking climate-friendly or 'green' decisions. This can vary from very clear and conscious hassle factors such as trying to clean up an attic or the heavy work in the garden, to the more subconscious hassle factors such as having to make difficult decisions about as yet unknown techniques in the house.
After that, we carry out an intention study. This means that we ask people to imagine a specific situation and then ask them what they would do in such a situation. For example, we ask people whether they would accept an offer of the Green & Ease concept for X amount, or what the differences in considerations are if the Green & Ease concept is offered by different bodies (such as the municipality or a private organisation).
Then we want to do a behavioural experiment in order to find out what factors are at work. And because it is scientific research, we need at least two groups of households per hassle factor: for example, if you want to test whether households decide more quickly to insulate an attic if you help to clean it, you need a group that offers you insulation and attic clearance, and a group that only offers you insulation.
We conclude the research with the Big Green & Ease Day. Here, "green" entrepreneurs (such as roof insulators) and "ease" entrepreneurs (such as attic cleaners) are encouraged through various fun workshops to develop new Green & Ease concepts together. There is already a great deal of interest in this research; we are looking to collaborate with SME Netherlands, the Dutch Home Owners Association and the Home Owners Association (VEH) to run this event.
In this study, a number of 'Green & Ease' concepts are being tested within various municipalities. We will then look at which concept is best suited to tempting residents to take green measures. A unique feature of the project is that the entrepreneurs from the 'green' domain (e.g. insulators) are brought together with entrepreneurs from the 'convenience' domain (e.g. cleaners). This new cooperation stimulates product expansion in both areas.
How do you relieve residents of green decisions in and around the house?