While the structure of the programme identifies particularly promising projects as ‘winners’, it is important to emphasize that we will maintain relationships with all participants.
Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty
The Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty Solutions Accelerator is a 2019 initiative co-created by Ashoka and the Schneider Electric Foundation, under the aegis of Fondation de France, with Enel Romania as local partner.
The aim of the program was to identify and support young innovative ideas and mature projects working in the field of energy poverty in five European countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria. After two selection stages 15 finalists were selected to join a 5-months acceleration program, which helped them improve their strategy and amplify their positive impact on society and on the environment.
Transforming a challenge…
According to the EU Energy Poverty Observatory more than 50 million households in the European Union are struggling to attain adequate warmth, pay their utility bills on time and live in homes free of damp and mold. In the CEE region alone, the percentage of people unable to keep home adequately warm in 2016 ranged from 4,7% in Czech Republic to 41,3% in Bulgaria. On top of that, in 2017 the percentage of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the region was well above 20% in most of the countries, with higher figures in Romania (36%) and Bulgaria (39%).
…into an opportunity.
After a successful partnership in 2015-2016, 2017-2018, for 2019 the Schneider Electric Foundation, under the aegis of the Fondation de France, and Ashoka, have renewed their commitment to helping improve the living conditions of millions of people facing energy poverty in Europe.To improve the impact of the project, Enel Romania has joined our efforts as local partner. It is by offering support for the most innovative social entrepreneurs in Europe that we can help entire communities tackle energy poverty and move towards energy sustainability.
After 3 months of searching and selecting projects, people and organisation who tackle the issues of energy poverty, we can proudly announce who are the finalists for this year's edition of Social Innovation to Tackle Energy Poverty Solutions Accelerator, co-created by Ashoka and the Schneider Electric Foundation, with the support of Enel Romania as local partner! From 60 applications screened by local juries, 28 were evaluated by the European Jury and in the end, 15 projects were selected as finalists.
Energy Agency Plovdiv (EAP) has the will to create a sustainable model of stakeholder cooperation and to initiate a crowdfunding campaign for the purchase and installation of efficient heating facilities for energy-poor households. The partners to be mobilized in the campaign will include mostly private businesses, especially those with "green consciousness".
They have invented an electric bicycle powered by solar energy. They use the bicycle for transportation to school and during the classes, it is charging in the sunlight. The idea for such a bike is related to the comfort of the people using cheaper transport and putting aside financial resources for energy efficiency at home or elsewhere. Additional benefits are: Avoiding traffic congestions and switches from one mode of transport to another; reducing travel time, protecting the environment.
The aim of the project is to extend the existing citizens' advice services to energy advice services provided to its clients by the Association of Citizens Advice Centres(AOP). Project activities will include: 1. pilot testing of energy advice in two member citizens advice centres in the Czech Republic, 2. implementation of energy advice in citizens advice centres,3. developing a methodology for providing energy advice, 4. taking over the experience of Scotland.
The project deals with supportive measures for sustainable housing in social support facilities, intended primarily for disadvantaged groups of people (low-income families with children, people disadvantaged due to higher age, people at risk of social exclusion and poverty). These target groups are, among other things, the most vulnerable to so-called energy poverty, or a situation in which a household cannot afford to heat an apartment to 18 to 20 °C.
5. Municipality of Kněžice (WINNER)
The municipality has been striving for an independent energy economy for a long time and is trying to achieve it through successive steps. The aim of the project is to change access to the electricity supply for the citizens and, as in the heating sector, to become a self-sufficient element in the system. All these changes have a positive impact on increasing competitiveness, efficiency and environmental quality while increasing energy security.
We propose to develop a business plan on the wider production of environmental-friendly heating fuel(briquette)and to explore the opportunities around efficient heating stoves to be able to use local sources to tackle the everyday heating problem for disadvantaged families. We would also like to broaden our already proven solutions, like debt management, improving planning skills, setting up community rules, developing responsibility towards the environment and community members among children and adults alike to reach a higher living standard. Solving the energy puzzle would enable our target group to advance to the 21stcentury and catch up with the rest of the country.
7. Apro’Tech (WINNER)
Our team is dedicated to designing and building efficient bricks and traditionally tilled masonry heaters for low-income families. AproTech is a working group of Vedegylet (Protect the future Association) which was founded in 2000 with the goal of making Hungary a more just society and a country that uses its resources in a sustainable manner. The goal of the AproTech is to provide accessible services for the most vulnerable communities, primary in the area of winter heating and energy consumption.
We develop straw-based insulation for houses, which is a perfect substitute of currently available and widely used foam plastic. It outperforms foam plastic from an environmental and socio-economic point of view while providing similar comfort for the inhabitants: it has the similar heat insulation efficiency, has very good soundproof qualities and water vapour absorption characteristics and is easily applicable for houses in any condition. It is environmentally friendly, durable harsh environment and fireproof. Coming from natural sources, it is easy and cheap to handle as waste material. We believe that houses insulated (anyway) can result in significant energy saving for the households. Our goal is to make insulation widely available by taking advantages of locally produced straw and our mobile production technology. We would produce the environmental friendly insulation board on the spot with locally available resources.
FOSa has developed a game about efficient management of resources. It’s constructed on the same basis as many other games, such as Monopoly. There are a board and other necessary elements. It includes a key element, gamification. What’s important, the game isn’t the sole method of impacting. It is a tool that inherently is a part of an activation and support process for the group. The game is an alternative for similar courses, which there are many of on the market, but which are taught traditionally, like workshops. Thanks to evaluations we know that it answers to the problems we mentioned. First of all, it breaks the negative attitude towards education. Secondly, the game gives concrete knowledge and skills in the area of effective management of one’s resources. The game is constructed in such a way that the players obtain concrete tips and solutions.
10. Association of Integration of Local Social Communities “Wielkopomoc”
Association “Wielkopomoc” created a social enterprise so that the community could reintegrate itself socially through work, but also provide financial independence. Aside from running the shelter, producing wooden sheds and other simple carpenter products, the social cooperation will start the production of pellets. People inhabiting local municipalities, who are in poor financial situations, will be able to make pellet on their own. Pellet is made from wood waste, special plants grown for this purpose and byproduct of agriculture. The pellet is produced by compressing wood dust, which is obtained as a postproduction material in sawmills and other places which manufacture wood.
Fine Energy / Citizens’ Energy System is an incubation of a model for the creation of small social Energy Cooperatives for people at risk of energy poverty that reside in single-family houses, farm farms, small several family homes in small villages, settlements or districts distant from the larger aggregates of the inhabitants. The aim of the project is to launch one model Energy Community, then create an environment and tools for replicating this model wherever there is such demand and where there will be people interested in the self-organization of such local initiative.
Bucharest’s District 1 City Hall plans to implement a pilot-program for thermal rehabilitation of houses. Currently, for the 1st District, there are roughly 2100 applications for joining the individual (houses) thermal rehabilitation program. In order to structure the program, we consider it necessary to identify 35-50 houses that comply with the general criteria of the above-mentioned strategy and integrate them in a pilot program. By implementing the pilot program, we should define the criteria for selecting houses for the pilot (35-50 houses out of 2100 applications), the design and execution constraints, the possible legal shortcomings, identify how to achieve energy performance indicators as well as develop standard solutions (categories of works) that could be implemented widely, without being blocked by individual design constraints.
Not all barriers to increase energy efficiency and related climate effects have yet been addressed: energy poverty with its ramifications is not properly understood and integrated in policy-making, especially locally; there is an absence of specific data and correlation between existing data sets, whereas existing data does not materialize into effective policy tools; there is general lack of information and engagement of relevant stakeholders. These objectives are met by delivering a mapping of the socio-spatial dimensions of energy poverty; Quantifying the impact of energy poverty on households and GHG emissions; Developing a new online energy-saving tool; Delivering a series of stakeholder workshops as well as developing upscaling and dissemination activities.
Energy poverty is the consequence of three factors: Low income + High Energy Bills + Poor Energy Efficiency. energiaTA will address all 3 in the following order: 1. Increasing Energy Efficiency, 2. Reducing Energy Bills and 3. Increasing Income: Skills Dev, Education, Arts & Crafts, Agriculture, Tourism. There are 3 barriers to be addressed to solve the energy problem when talking about accessibility: Technological, Physical and Economical. They aim to address all 3 as well as providing services and products B2C, going directly to the vulnerable population, having local city halls as partners. The first step is to reduce energy demand through energy efficiency solutions. The second stage is represented by PV solar production systems people could lease, paying no upfront money, but a monthly fee they could afford. In the end, we will address increasing income by working with other organisations in finding local opportunities for growth and partnering with local companies.
Through Winterization, during three years, 90 families with children at risk (30 families per year) will benefit from improved households in order to protect children from extreme cold during winter time. Based on the needs assessments, a tailored winterization intervention at the household level will be done. This winterization intervention may consist of repairs or endowments with new heating stoves and/or windows and/or entrance doors, chimney repair or construction including the works needed to be done in order to install and sustain the winterization items. This tailored intervention will contribute to the household sustainability in terms of improved living conditions and heating, it will help the families to have households better equipped for winter time and it will increase their comfort in terms of being warmer and healthier.
He has a background in Economics, graduating Faculty of Finance and Banking. However, driven by an authentic learning need he also was involved as a volunteer in Economics Students Association in Romania. He also studied and worked at Alternative University and at Restart in Education.
He is strongly passionate about Olimpism, therefore he gladly was a volunteer at many important sports events. He also co-founded The Coubertin Crew Association, an organisation which aims to develop the ecosystem of sport volunteers in Romania.