Some 70 participating households registered for the first Energysense Participants Event and on Friday the 10th of March our team welcomed our guests at the new Energy Academy building.
After coffee, the visitors were split into small groups of 8-10 people and went on their separate ways – one group delved into the ‘energy game’, others attended an exclusive mini-lecture and there were guided tours of our new building, the most sustainable educational building in the country. About a dozen of our visitors who are currently engaged in local energy initiatives were offered the opportunity to engage in scientific research conducted by PhD student Mustafa Hasanov (University of Groningen). This collaboration proved a significant step forward for his research! Closing off with snacks and drinks at the end of the day, there was plenty opportunity to speak with our participants and hear their comments and feedback.
One of the main objectives of this event was for our participants to experience the multidimensionality of the Energysense programme – research, data, ict, technology, behaviour. Just as important was our wish to engage on a personal level with our participants and to respond to their questions, remarks, needs, comments and ideas. The day’s programme fully facilitated our objectives. Privacy and data safety issues took centre stage during the last session of the afternoon, emphasizing the importance of our participants’ trust in Energysense to handle their data with the greatest care and confidentiality possible. The interactions with our participants during this event are of great value to the Energysense team. The experience has strengthened two-way communications. This week already, we will be implementing some of the feedback and put concrete suggestions to use, as well as take up offers from participants to supply additional data and expertise and to connect us to networks.
This event and this approach are quite innovative in the scientific research projects: in general results are presented to participants at the end of a research project. Mutuality and collaboration with households are at the heart of the Energysense programme: working together towards a sustainable future!