Activating consumers to deep energy refurbishment in Europe – REFURB project conference

The REFURB Conference took place on October 10th 2017 in the European Quarter in Brussels.

In the first part of the REFURB Conference the main question to the participants was how to speed up deep energy renovation dynamics with regional innovation and renovation offers? Opening speaker Adrian Joyce from the Renovate Europe Campaign underlined, that a joint effort and engagement is needed: “In order to be successful on energy renovation, we need to move away from “them and they”, and look at “we”“, he said in his opening line.

Session one consisted of three elaborations on the holistic approach to deep energy renovation, where Peter Rathje form Project Zero, Denmark stressed the importance of visualizing the customer journey of homeowners during the renovation process: “Stakeholders need to be aligned with the customer journey to accelerate renovation dynamics. Without coordinator, do it with coalitions,” he said.

Dominiek Vandewiele (Leiedal, BE) and Anne Goidts (Bostoen, BE) discussed how to bridge the gap between the demand and supply side of nZEB renovations. “We need to understand the homeowner: People do not start a renovation just because they want to save 15 EUR / month on their energy bill, but because they want more comfort or a new kitchen”, says Dominiek Vandewiele from Leiedal.

Again, the customer journey is pivotal in understanding and illustrating how homeowners act in a motion towards a renovation process. It functions as a bridge over the gap between the homeowner and the businesses on the supplier side. There are many factors at play, when homeowners decide upon renovation.  “The customer journey does not start when people contact building companies, it starts earlier, as soon as people become aware of the need to renovate” says Anne Goidts from Bostoen.

This involves not only focusing on the technical aspects of nearly zero energy benefits (nZEB) renovations but also understanding the key drivers and barriers to convince homeowners to commit to nZEB renovations. Therefore, the supply side might need additional tools to support the demand-side during the whole renovation process such as one-stop-shop models, using non-technical language, providing guidance.

A good illustration of such tools were presented by Dominiek Vandewiele; for example the online Belgian webtool “Mijn Energiekompas” and the service of a “Renovation Coach” offered to homeowners. These tools were developed within REFURB for Belgium.

Finally, Lotte Lindgaard Andersen (Clean, DK) illustrated the compelling offer for nZEB renovations developed by the Danish partners: “The package solutions are easy to understand, but the challenge is to find a consortium of building suppliers/regional stakeholders, that can see a good business case and also to share the cost of stimulate . The demand for energy renovation might increase if we award the homeowner with a good energy standard and communicate the economic value of a better energy standard in the house (value securing),” she said during her talk.


All presentations are available below:


Coaching the homeowner, eliminating the barriers on energy renovation” by Virginia Gómez Oñate, Project Manager, EnergyVille/VITO (Belgium)

Creating a market for deep energy renovation in Europe.
“Renovation of residential dwellings is lagging behind the political ambition. How to stimulate this market?”  by Andrian Joyce, Campaign Director, Renovate Europe and Secretary General, EuroACE.


Session 1:

How to generate impact with renovation offers? Rollout strategies, quality
guarantee and applied examples

The holistic refurb approach for deep energy renovation.
“How to create a succesful customer journey with focus on both business and value creation for selected customer segments” by Peter Rathje , ProjectZero (Denmark)

Bridging the building sector offers and the homeowner needs.
“The building sector and the homeowner are not yet on the same page. REFURB looked at the missing links to create a powerful offer” by Dominiek Vandewiele, Intercommunale Leiedal and Anne Goidts, Bostoen (Belgium)

Business models and value creation as tools to design a concrete and attractive offer.
“Non-energy and financial benefits for both the homeowner and the supply side” by Lotte Lindgaard Andersen, CLEAN (Denmark)


Session 2:

The REFURB project: How to speed up deep energy renovation dynamics
with regional innovation and renovation offers?

Quality guarantee in deep energy renovation
“Are performance guarantees after renovation a burden or an opportunity? Do policy and practice meet or differ?” by Fiene Grieger, ISW (Germany)

The renovation coach for the homeowner: eliminating the barriers.
“Single point of contact: Supporting and unburdening the homeowner in the customer journey” by Lisa Adema, Municipality of Leeuwarden (The Netherlands)

Practical experiences in neighbourhoods
“Energy ambassadors show their neighbours the way to save energy in their homes” by Djoera Eerland, Buurkracht (The Netherlands)

REFURB lessons learned and policy recommendations for rollout.
“How to create a powerful offer for homeowners and a succesful rollout strategy with stakeholders? Time for a plenary discussion to conclude on some policy recommendations together with the audience” by Alan Laws, Municipality of Leeuwarden (The Netherlands)


(Click on image)

Photo by: