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ENERGISE – European Network for Research, Good Practice and Innovation for Sustainable Energy

Fields: Sustainability research, Inter- and Trans-disciplinarity, Energy Consumption, Social-Practice Theory, Energy Cultures, Social Geography, Regional Geography

Project Leader (LMU): Prof. Dr. Henrike Rau

Research Staff: Dr. Eoin Grealis, Christoph Cludius


Funded by: EU Horizon 2020 (Grant Agreement No. 727642)

Duration: 12/2016 - 12/2019


ENERGISE is an innovative pan-European research initiative to achieve a greater scientific understanding of the social and cultural influences on energy consumption. Funded under the EU Horizon 2020 programme, ENERGISE develops, tests and assesses options for a bottom-up transformation of energy use in households and communities across Europe.

What is the issue?

Scientific research and public policy in the field of energy consumption has primarily focused on drivers towards greater carbon efficiency. However, such an approach does not consider the long-term success of such measures within existing energy cultures where short-term efficiency gains may be wiped out by increasing overall consumption over time.
ENERGISE recognises that cultural change is a key ingredient in successful energy transitions. Individual energy consumption is a function of the socio-cultural and material contexts in which people live. Societal norms and routines with regard to work, education, family life, consumption and recreation greatly determine people’s patterns of energy use as well as their ability and/or willingness to change them. Without a comprehensive understanding of these energy cultures and related everyday practices, measures to reduce energy consumption at the individual or household levels are likely to fail.

Research Strategy – A Living Labs Approach

ENERGISE adopts a Living Labs approach to directly observe existing energy cultures in a real-world setting and to test both household and community-level initiatives to reduce energy consumption. A comprehensive review and classification of household and community energy initiatives from 30 European countries provides the foundation for the development of two prototype ‘ENERGISE Living Labs’ designed to capture influences on individual and collective energy consumption. Data collection before, during and after the roll-out of 16 ENERGISE Living Labs in eight partner countries will be instrumental in contributing to the design and assessment of future energy consumption initiatives across Europe.

ENERGISE Research Objectives

  1. Move beyond existing sustainable consumption research by developing an innovative theoretical framework that fuses social practice and energy cultures approaches,
  2. Assess and compare the impact of European energy consumption reduction initiatives,
  3. Advance the use of Living Lab approaches for researching and transforming energy cultures,
  4. Produce new research-led insights into the role of routines and ruptures in shifting energy use towards greater sustainability,
  5. Enhance multi-way engagement with actors from society, politics and industry and effectively transfer ENERGISE’s outputs to further the implementation of the European Energy Union.

Project Partners

The ENERGISE consortium includes seven partner universities as well as research institutes, enterprises and NGOs from Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Slovenia, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.