Hungarian programme wins EU Sustainable Energy Award for motivating citizens to change their energy usage habits
EnergyNeighbourhoods recognised by European Commission for empowering individuals and communities to cut energy consumption by up to a quarter
Today, EnergyNeighbourhoods was awarded the prestigious EU Sustainable Energy Award in the Engagement category. European Commissioner for Energy, Kadri Simson, was on hand to congratulate the winners at the online awards ceremony which kicked off Day 1 of the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW). Members of a high-level jury tasked with picking this year's top clean energy projects in Europe were also in attendance.
Commissioner Simson praised all five EUSEW Award winners commenting, "The projects and individuals that are being recognised today are not only leaders in transforming Europe’s energy landscape, they are role models. Their work is a testament to the importance of citizen engagement in making the European Green Deal a reality. We've been working hard to develop policy instruments, which guide and support action on the ground, and it is truly inspiring to see this vision at work. Together, we are bringing Europe closer to its climate goals.“
EnergyNeigbourhoods is a programme in Hungary that empowers individuals and communities to take action in response to climate change by making energy-saving behavioral changes in a collaborative way.
“We help people change their lifestyles, save energy and reduce their carbon footprint, thus reducing their contribution to climate change," says Edina Vadovics, Scientific Director at GreenDependent Institute, the programme’s coordinator.
Communities across Hungary have shown that by making simple lifestyle changes, citizens can achieve average energy savings between 7-10% and in some cases up to 25%. Through the EnergyNeighbourhoods programme, community members come together with green living experts and identify areas where they can save energy at home, in a measurable way without compromising on their quality of life. Representing one third of the country’s final energy use, Hungarian households have a significant role to play in reducing the country’s carbon footprint and contributing to the climate goals.
“In the past 10 years, we have reached more than 5,000 people and 1,000 households in Hungary. We have trained more than 230 individuals to become so-called energy masters who work together with small communities,“ says Kristóf Vadovics, Executive Director of GreenDependent Institute.
The programme also delivers important social benefits through savings on energy bills, which provides much-needed extra budget for household expenses and in some cases helping to lift citizens out of energy poverty.
The programme, initially launched in 2011 with 15 other countries as part of a two-year EU-funded project under the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme (IEE), was so successful in Hungary that industry and experts came together to ensure its continuation. Since 2013, the programme has been funded by E.ON Hungary and coordinated by GreenDependent Institute, starting its 10th season in the autumn of 2021. Initiatives such as this one are bringing the EU closer to the 2030 targets.
About the EUSEW Awards
Twelve outstanding individuals and projects are highlighted at the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) 2021 for their innovation in energy efficiency and renewables. Finalists were chosen from a list of the year’s most successful projects for clean, secure and efficient energy. The awards have four categories - Engagement, Innovation, Woman in Energy and Young Energy Trailblazer – as well as the Citizen’s Award. Prizes were awarded by an expert jury (for Engagement and Innovation), and by citizens via a public vote.
EUSEW 2021 runs from 25 to 29 October 2021, under the theme ‘Towards 2030: Reshaping the European Energy System’. Taking place ahead of the decisive COP 26, the event brings together energy policy experts, industry leaders, academia and civil society representatives to discuss how forward-looking policies for decarbonisation, energy efficiency, climate mitigation, and many others comprising the European Green Deal, can help rebuild a better and more resilient society and economy.
There is still time to attend EUSEW 2021! With more opportunities than ever to connect, engage, network and reflect on the biggest issues in clean energy in Europe and beyond. Media and participants can access the online event until 29 October.
For interview requests with the EUSEW 2021 Award winners, please contact [email protected]