Monday 7th of December, 2015 - In Europe, according to a 2014 study from BPIE (Buildings Performance Institute Europe), 50 to 125 million people are facing fuel poverty. Reducing energy gaps in our societies requires breaking out of traditional models, institutions and silos isolating different spheres of society. Ashoka and the Schneider Electric Foundation believe that the most leveraged way to enable underprivileged people to access affordable energy is to invest in and engage entrepreneurs who create innovations that lead to system-changing solutions.
That is why, Ashoka and the Schneider Electric Foundation, under the aegis of the Fondation de France, launched in September 2015 a call for project called “Social Innovation to tackle fuel poverty” in 6 European countries: Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland and UK.
In November, a selection committee of national and international experts gathered to select 14 projects among more than 200 applications, representing the most relevant solutions which are poised to thrive over the coming years.
Ashoka will support the 14 winners to build-up their scaling-up strategies with about 300 hours of mentoring sessions during 3 months from February 2016! Furthermore, they will benefit from inspiring meetings within the European network of peers and increased visibility during the whole program. In addition, Schneider Electric international employees will contribute with their expertise and skills to the mentoring sessions within the Schneider Electric Teachers initiative. This global programme will be presented at the occasion of a worldwide Ashoka event in June 2016.
During the whole initiative, fuel poverty trends have been analyzed by Ashoka, the Schneider Electric Foundation and the consulting firm Ylios. Find the 2 reports below:
DISCOVER THE WINNERS!
AG EOS – Bart Van Camp
EOS has invented an innovative contract: “the Profit Guarantee”, a system where the households only pay a loan back when the energy gain has been made. This deal was created to avoid two common problems for families facing fuel poverty: they either want to take a loan to make their houses more efficient but they know it will have a negative impact on their budget (repayments are higher than the benefits at first), or they don’t believe that the energy gains will be sufficient and they don’t invest. Either way, this paradox prevents them from accessing new opportunities for more energy efficiency. Thanks to this revolutionary approach, 2500 houses per year are made more energy efficient.
SAMENLEVINGSOPBOUW – Stefan Goemaere
Samenlevingsopbouw is a project destined to people with debts suffering from fuel poverty. Because of these debts, they can’t replace their old consuming appliances for energy saving ones and they continue to have expensive energy bills. Samenlevingsopbouw is a lease/rent system where people can rent energy saving appliances and reduce their energy bill. This innovative project is a smart and replicable mean to give access to efficient appliances to people who could not afford them beforehand.
CHANCE FOR BUILDINGS – Tomáš Trubačík
Chance for Buildings is an alliance of over 300 companies across the entire value chain of building construction and renovation in Czech Republic. Their objective is to improve the energy efficiency of social housing in order to reduce fuel poverty in Czech Republic in the long run. Currently, social payments are covering energy bills for the vulnerable population living in social housing. However, Chance for Building advocates that a more strategic solution would be to reduce the energy bills with more efficient buildings. Their influence on public authorities will help them promote energy efficiency measures in the Czech legislation.
ENERGIE SOLIDAIRE (Les amis d’Enercoop) – Julien Noé
Energie Solidaire, a project launched in 2014 by Les Amis d’Enercoop, has invented an innovative system to fund local initiatives tackling fuel poverty. Energie Solidaire uses micro-donation through energy bills to support local communities in implementing effective solutions against fuel poverty. For now, Energie Solidaire relies on the 30 000 customers of Enercoop doing micro-donations, but will soon open this opportunity to other suppliers, like Engie or EDF. This will significantly increase the number of donations and will lead to a more powerful system, capable of supporting more initiatives. Energie Solidaire also wants to create a collaborative funding platform where people supported by the system can reinvest part of their savings to help other fuel-poor households.
SLIME (Cler) – Bouchra Zeroual
SLIME is an innovative project implemented by Cler, a French network for energy transition, to help local authorities supporting households in fuel poverty. SLIME success is based on whistle blowers who identify “invisible” households and offer them an appropriate solution (coaching, installation of small free energy saving equipment, etc.) after a first home visit. The 30 local authorities already using the SLIME methodology benefit from white certificates, which help them cover up the expenses related to SLIME. SLIME also brings together all the local actors and encourages them to work together. This network is essential for a quicker and a more effective identification of households in fuel poverty.
CAMEL – Guillaume Thiriet
CAMEL has a holistic approach of the fuel poverty issue. The organization has developed a project mobilizing social enterprises, businesses, social workers, funding agencies and energy companies to solve financial, social and technical issues to help people get out of fuel poverty. CAMEL is developing new financial tools such as social loans or third-party financing and a skill development program involving social workers, social enterprises, and people facing fuel poverty. They want to become an essential link in the development of energy efficiency to protect vulnerable households against fuel poverty.
ECO HABITAT – Franck Billeau
Eco Habitat aims at providing access to isolated and unaware fuel-poor households to the financial aid schemes of the French Agency for Housing improvement (ANAH). Eco Habitat accompanies household facing fuel poverty to choose the best financial and technical solutions. In order to do so, they count on a network of local stakeholders (public authorities, public operators, associations, construction operators) collaborating and using their strengths to find the best solutions to refurbish houses while protecting the environment, using bio sourced materials.
SOLI’BÂT (Compagnons Bâtisseurs) – Marie Trackoen
Soli’Bât is a project involving the community to collect equipment, materials, labor hours and funding to maximize cost reduction for vulnerable people, especially in their self-rehabilitation projects. This system is beneficial for people facing fuel poverty, but also for companies getting rid of their dead stocks. Soli’Bât has built a strong community of volunteers helping in the home improvement and giving labor hours.
LA CITTA VERDE – Giorgio Rosso
La Citta Verde aims at transforming materials considered as waste into biofuels that are environmentally friendly and provide this low-cost energy to people suffering from fuel poverty. This project is fully integrated in a societal process by protecting the environment (using waste, optimizing transports), reducing costs for fuel-poor populations and employing disadvantaged people. La Citta Verde wants to improve substantially its social impact in the years to come.
NATURAL YES – Cezary Czemplik
Natural YES is a consortium working with very underprivileged people suffering from fuel poverty. The consortium’s objective is to encourage the use of natural organic elements of construction as a way to build energy efficient houses. This original structure gathers a lot of organizations working in the poverty or in the construction fields, bringing expertise and legitimacy towards public authorities and all the other stakeholders.
ENERGY LOCAL – Mary Gillie
Energy local helps communities save money and carbon while managing their own energy generation and use. Energy Local has been set up to develop new systems so communities can benefit from pooling and using their own generation directly rather than selling it at a loss. It also lets them buy power for less at cheaper times of day. This is done using new relationships with energy suppliers, smart meters and technology to give communities a helping hand in how you use power.
SEASONAL HEALTH INTERVENTION NETWORK (SHINE) – John Kolm-Murray
The Seasonal Health Interventions Network (SHINE) aims to reduce fuel poverty and associated health problems through extensive partnership working between the public, private and third sectors. It does this by delivering up to 30 seasonal health interventions through a single referral. The network is one of the largest programme of its kind in the UK, being comprised of 90 organizations operating in Islington, has assisted almost 9,500 households and saved £2.2 million on energy bills alone.
SUSTAINABLE HOMES SURVEY – Lee-Ann Perkins
SHS has developed a tailored in-home assessment which collects data in-house via a survey to determine income levels of the occupants and the property’s energy use to establish the ‘real’ fuel poverty level experienced by residents. They work with domestic energy e¬fficiency providers, local authorities, energy companies and housing associations and householders across all tenures to identify and accelerate home improvements. In doing this they provide a range of impartial home assessments to householders centered on improving energy usage, increasing comfort levels, reducing fuel bills and reducing environmental impact.
PLYMOUTH ENERGY COMMUNITY – Alistair Macpherson
As a Community Benefit Society run by its members on behalf of the people of Plymouth, PEC aims to help local people and organizations in Plymouth transform how they buy, use and generate power in the city. Their work focuses around three core energy goals: reducing energy bills and fuel poverty, improving energy efficiency and generating a local green energy supply in the city. Through working with a number of energy-related organizations, they have created the tools and relationships to help the community achieve these three energy goals. One of their primary aims is to raise awareness and help the local community understand more about their options and to give them the knowledge and power to take action to change their own energy future. http://www.plymouthenergycommunity.com/
Laura Zimer, Ashoka European Manager
T: +33 (0)1 40 26 30 83
Behind the motto « Everyone a Changemaker™», Ashoka is an international organization which mission is to discover and support the most innovative entrepreneurial solutions to face social and environmental challenges, which results in inspiring all the stakeholders in society to become change makers. Ashoka has become in 30 years the first international network of Social Entrepreneurs (3 000 in 80 countries).
Beyond this selection and the support of this social entrepreneurs (the « Ashoka Fellows »), the association has given itself the objective of amplifying the impact of their solutions, to speed-up the co-creation of solutions through cooperation between social entrepreneurs, companies and the public authority. http://www.ashoka.org/
About the Schneider Electric Foundation
Created in 1998, the Schneider Electric Foundation, under the aegis of the Foundation de France, has worked together with its partners to put in place solutions to respond to the energy issues of the world’s most underprivileged people. In emerging economies, the Foundation supports professional training programs in energy related trades, thereby contributing to the Schneider Electric Access to Energy program. In mature economies, the Foundation fights against fuel poverty by offering training/awareness-raising programs for the households concerned. In all its programs, the Schneider Electric Foundation pays special attention to the involvement of the company’s employees in all its actions. For more information: http://www.schneider-electric.com/en/about-us/foundation.jsp