Household electricity consumption is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. This has been compounded in recent years by increasing residential energy demand, due in part to larger homes, new appliances and more electrical equipment. All this has put a greater strain on energy infrastructures across the EU.

It is clear therefore that energy savings and carbon reduction could be achieved with a change in consumer behavior, and the manner in which people consume energy. These changes could be promoted through the use of “smart tools”, some of which have been developed through the EU-funded project PROMISE.
The PROMISE Project – launched in 2011 and funded by the Commission under the Intelligent Energy - Europe (IEE) programme – has a very specific target in mind. It aims to promote energy savings among households on European islands. By sharing information and experiences, energy agencies from Samsø (Denmark), Iceland, Rhodes (Greece) and Tenerife (Spain) aim to promote tried-and-tested methods for reducing the energy consumption of households.
The project, which is scheduled to end in November 2013, has already achieved a great deal. This has largely been accomplished through the sharing of information and experiences at various workshops, and through direct interaction with locals. These channels of communication have helped to raised awareness among island households and local stakeholders of the need to make energy consumption decisions that support energy sustainability on their island.

The main instruments used during the public awareness campaigns were home energy checks and web-enabled energy efficiency calculators. The involvement of the public was encouraged at all times, as was cooperation with other islanders.

The end result of all this hard work included a consistent energy saving of between 1000 and 8000 kilowatt-hours per household, depending on the local climate, or 5 to 20 % savings per household. Significant savings were achieved through improvements to the building envelope (for example, improving the insulation) and the replacement of heating units. Energy savings were also achieved through consumers changing their energy consumption habits.

The strategies undertaken by each island were promoted and highlighted at the European Awareness Conference “Save Energy Now”, which took place in Brussels in April 2013. This helped to consolidate greater in-depth cooperation between the islands which gave rise to an in-depth cooperation with six additional islands that will be using the PROMISE tools and awareness campaigns.

Finally, the success of the project’s methods has been effectively disseminated, highlighted and discussed in several conferences such as the 4th International Conference Renewable Energy Sources & Energy Efficiency, New Challenges, which was held in Cyprus in June 2013 and the 7th International Conference on Energy Efficiency in Domestic Appliances and Lighting in Coimbra, Portugal in September 2013. A scientific paper of the project has also been sent for dissemination in the International Journal of Sustainable Energy (IJSE).

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