ENERGISE recognises cultural change as a key ingredient in successful energy transitions. Individual energy consumption is a function of who we are, where we come from, and the socio-cultural and material contexts in which we live. Societal norms and routines with regard to work, education, family life, consumption and recreation greatly determine our patterns of energy use as well as our ability and/or willingness to change those patterns. Without a comprehensive understanding of these energy cultures, public policy measures to reduce energy consumption at the individual or household levels are likely to fail. 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. ENERGISE’s primary objectives are to:
- move beyond existing sustainable consumption research by developing an innovative theoretical framework that fuses social practice and energy cultures approaches;
- assess and compare the impact of European energy consumption reduction initiatives;
- advance the use of Living Lab approaches for researching and transforming energy cultures;
- produce new research-led insights into the role of routines and ruptures in shifting energy use towards greater sustainability;
- 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.