Climate change challenges are so huge, a bottom-up approach seems hopeless … but a purely top-down approach is not sustainable in the long term, either. Residents need to actively participate for change to happen. - Samuli Rinne, Enespa Ltd.

This is an excerpt from the pilot project story Micro-ESCOs – Enespa working with the Make Energy Change Happen Toolkit. Here, we explain how Enespa benefited from Step 6 of the Toolkit: Plan for and with your target group.

Heating system upgrades are expensive investments. People will not make them unless they are absolutely confident that the promised benefits will be achieved and that the systems will work as planned. In a small project with limited resources, it is absolutely necessary to plan this type of project in close co-operation with members of the target group.

In order to design a project that meets the residents’ needs, Enespa planned together with them at various stages:

  • Initial ideas were collected at public meetings organized for the residents. Enespa also attended a number of events organized by the residents or the local municipality to gain input on the project plans. These meetings gauged the residents’ interest in heating systems upgrades and alternative solutions (including a common residential-scale heating system) and collected their concerns and ideas.
  • Project details were planned at smaller meetings with the residents who were actively participating. Here, decisions were made concerning how to implement the heating system upgrade. The project changed a lot at this final stage. Instead of a common heating system, we decided to opt for individual ground source heat pumps, but ask and evaluate the suppliers’ bids collectively.