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Learning networks as an enabler for informed decisions to target energy-efficiency potentials in companies

: Wohlfarth, Katharina; Eichhammer, Wolfgang; Schlomann, Barbara; Mielicke, Ursula


Journal of cleaner production 163 (2017), S.118-127
ISSN: 0959-6526
Fraunhofer ISI ()
energy efficiency; barriers; information; Networks; Companies

This paper deals with possibilities of targeting energy efficiency potentials in German companies by delivering information and support within a cooperative management system “Learning Energy Efficiency Networks” (LEEN). Information deficits are pointed out as a relevant barrier to implementing energy efficiency measures in literature that can be aimed at by energy programmes such as audits. Our concept combines aspects of cooperation, shared experiences and moderated learning processes. The programme sought to go beyond the sole provision of consultation, by qualifying companies to decide and act on implementing energy efficiency measures by delivering the individual practical know-how they need. After having analysed evaluation data of several hundred companies, our results show that the participants were mainly motivated by the need for practical knowledge and specific information. The networks could well satisfy this need. The benefit for the participants in such delivered information was also reflected in the decreasing of the barrier of imperfect information and the programme enabled companies to make informed decisions on energy efficiency measures. But the gain of the programme was not solely restricted on an increase in knowledge: The majority of participants reported implementation of suggested measures, which would not have been implemented without the programme. Hence, LEEN can be indicated as a policy instrument enabling informed decisions on efficiency measures and supporting their implementation. Possibly tailoring the programme to different target groups and aiming at dismantling other barriers directly in addition to tackling information deficits could be undertaken to improve the process.