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Ongoing developments of the ENCERTICUS Project for energy efficient housing

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more than 400 participating citizens across 3 Mediterranean countries.

The ENCERTICUS project is an ICT-based energy awareness service for energy-efficient social housing in the Mediterranean area and deals with inhabitants’ resource use behavior in the following three countries;  France, Italy and Spain.

The key objectives are:

  • To provide householders detailed near real-time energy use information in a way that is meaningful to them;
  • To engage individual households as active players in developing water and energy conservation practices;
  • To evaluate ‘user-friendly’ and widely accessible models of energy awareness services applied over three categories of tenants and housing buildings;
  • To obtain conclusions about the cost effectiveness and the impact on resource use behavior change of each model;
  • To integrate monitoring models with Energy certification schemes and to evaluate how to improve both the user acceptance of the energy certificate as well as its accuracy against the real energy performance of residential buildings.


A brief account of what has been achieved to date:

France pilot project:  La Grotte Rolland, Marseille. Seven Residential Buildings with 45 dwellings and approximately 140 tenants.
Participating trial households: 30

Trial households recruitment:
From October to November 2013, home visits and interviews with householders were carried out by a sociopsychologist from the University of Toulouse. Not only has this work allowed for formalization of an informed consent with the control and trial groups but also to investigate household occupancy, range of ages, educational background, utility billing system and the existing domestic appliances as well as as TV, computers, etc. and to discuss with tenants about their current everyday energy use of appliances.  These initial interviews have allowed the site team to collect important qualitative insights for the forthcoming “green nudges approach” and to test some initial nudges. In these home visits, tenants were also invited to answer a paper-based survey.

Service equipment installation:
In September 2013 the monitoring equipment for each trial dwelling was set up. Since December 2013, 45 dwellings have already been equipped with sensors for indoor temperature and humidity and smart metering systems for water/gas/electricity consumption data. By providing their specific username and password to householders, they will be able to access a webportal and track their energy usage.


Italy pilot project: Towers 1 & 2, Prato. Two Residential Buildings, with 18 rented dwellings/18 owned dwellings and approximately 90 tenants.
Participating trial households : 15  + 15 control group

Trial household recruitment:
From July 2013 to January 2014, 13 of the 15 trial households were recruited through the organization of collective meetings and the distribution of project leaflets aimed to present the project objectives.
There were more difficulties recruiting the control group. Individual home visits and call phones were carried out for engaging householders in the Encerticus trial. Household surveys were conducted to collect size of house, number of occupants, sources of energy, main appliances and hours of use, and further information related to current energy behavior.

Service equipment installation:
From July to September 2013, a pre-test of the selected Encerticus service was carried out in the Social housing headquarters to test the service functionalities and train the site staff to use it.
From December 2013 to January 2014, 8 trial households were equipped for a two-week pre-trial period.  Individual interviews will be arranged following this which will involve questions about everyday routines, use of appliances, the strategies used for managing and paying for energy (electricity and gas for all participants) and how people understand energy. This home environment will enable participants to show  appliances, routines, etc. in situ. In order to better understand everyday routines, the participants will also be asked about  a ‘typical’ day — or to talk about the differences between days — via filling in a simple timeline  which presents an opportunity to ask more details about particular aspects. Interviews will collect information about the usability of the installed equipment (stand-alone display + webportal) and whether users have found it useful.
At the installation, site staff and installers have demonstrated how to use the stand-alone display, install the smart plugs on selected appliances , change its setting and access to the webportal . A user manual was also left. Once the two-week pre-trial period is completed and the full roll-out of the 15 trial households, consumption data will be collected for each dwelling until the end of March 2015.

Spain pilot project:
Montserrat 1-23 and Quatre Cantons, Manresa. Two Residential Buildings, with 110 rented dwellings and approximately 220 tenants.
Participating trial households : 110 dwellings

Trial household recruitment:

Social workers list and classify all the tenants according to their social profile and their potential willingness to use the future services. This classification will be used to better address recruitment strategies.

Service equipment installation:
Monitoring equipment for the experimental building (Montserrat building) is already in place and gathering information. The control building (Quatre Cantons building) is also under consumption surveillance and monthly data is gathered manually according to schedule. Arrangements still need to be made to facilitate heating consumption data gathering.

A mobile app is being developed as part of the services package which will be offered to tenants, together with the web-page (almost finished) and monthly paper reports. Tenants classification will also help focus the type of service for each concrete user.


For a more detailed description of the ongoing progress, please go to the ENCERTICUS website here.