SustainABLE energy YOUTHers – Active research for a more sustainable energy use

Households' energy consumption accounts for more than one third of total energy consumption in Austria and will strongly increase in the future, according to several studies. Currently, the energy consumption in households takes place widely unobserved due to the lack of feedback systems and the lack of knowledge and awareness. The connection to climate change and sustainability is little reflected. At the same time, the Energy Efficiency Action Plan of the Republic of Austria (2007) (Energieeffizienzaktionsplan) calls for a reduction of final energy consumption by 9% until 2016 and by 20% until 2020. According to the Energy Strategy of Austria (Energiestrategie Österreich) 3% of the Austrian households should receive annual on-site energy advice, starting in 2011.

These facts form the basis of the research project ABLE YOUTH which aims at localizing energy saving potentials in households. Pupils of two different schools in Vienna are trained by professional energy advisers to advice their families in energy saving methods and assess the outcome at the end of the project. Energy use, knowledge about energy and energy consumption habits in the household sector are examined by the researchers. Strategies of reducing energy use through behavioural changes in utilization of existing technical possibilities in the families of the pupils will be developed and categorized.

The energy-related advice by the students is structured in several stages. It includes feedback loops to secure the newly acquired knowledge and behaviour; and focuses on the individual needs of each household. The project evaluates the effectiveness of different advice-approaches regarding the reduction of energy use as well as the change of attitudes and behavioural patterns concerning energy consumption.

Project objectives:

  • Investigation of the energy consumption habits and the energy consumption as well as personal attitudes towards energy consumption and energy saving in the families of the pupils.

  • Development and implementation of concepts of energy-related advice, which are specifically tailored to the energy consumption habits in the families.

  • Evaluation of energy savings in the family households and the effect of the energy advice on knowledge about energy, energy behaviour and attitudes towards energy.

This project has been completed.