About the Project


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 for three years (2016-2019), 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 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.

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 living labs to eight partner countries will be instrumental in contributing to the design and assessment of future energy consumption initiatives across Europe. 

Summary of Objectives

ENERGISE’s primary objectives are to

  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

ENERGISE research team June 2017 small.jpg


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. The project is further supported by agencies such as Energy Cities, SCORAI Europe, the Hungarian Business Council for Sustainable Development, Community Energy England, E.ON Hungary and the Sustainable Energy Agency in Ireland.


Work Packages

Work Packages Description
WP1 - Conceptual Framework WP1 will creatively fuse social practice and energy cultures approaches to develop a groundbreaking conceptual framework to guide methodological and empirical work in ENERGISE and to shape future social-scientific energy research.
WP2 - Typologies of Energy Initiatives A systematic criteria-guided classification of existing energy initiatives from 30 European countries will provide the most comprehensive database of European energy initiatives and subsequent development of typologies. These will guide the selection of Living Labs elements for ENERGISE and future energy consumption research respectively.

WP3 - Designing Living Labs

WP3 will translate findings from WP2 into designs for innovative, readily replicable and scalable Living Labs and provide guidelines for practitioners. An especially developed sustainability assessment toolkit (SAT) will measure ENERGISE Living Labs (ELL) outcomes and deliver data for comparative analyses of energy practices and cultures in WP5
WP4 - ENERGISE Living Labs This work package centres on the international rollout of two types of ELL that target individuals and communities respectively. The application of SAT will ensure effective monitoring of ELL impacts and generate data for cross-national comparison.
WP5 - Comparing Energy Cultures Intra- and cross-national comparisons will link the diversity of energy practices and cultures to observable similarities and differences in ELL performance.
WP6 - Policy Integration WP6 will integrate, synthesise and translate ENERGISE results into support materials and data products for public- and private-sector decision makers, delivering research-led recommendations for further advancing the Energy Union
WP7 - Dissemination-Communication-Exploitation A coherent, multi-layered strategy to effectively publicise and exploit ENERGISE’s findings will bundle input from the whole team across the entire lifespan of the project.
WP8 - Management and Coordination This work package will provide effective project management and internal communication
WP9 - Ethics Requirements The objective is to ensure compliance with the 'ethics requirements' set out in this work package