Since I put forth the idea of combining energy behaviour, social norms and tipping points in September 2017, a team of students has been working on the project Dichte Deur, Warme Winkel.
Guided by Wander Jager and myself, four bright young minds from the University College Groningen, Hanne Oldenhof, Roos Walstock, Guido Kinds and Jack Dingham have done fieldwork, delved into the literature and contacted stakeholders.
The project had as a starting point the concept of ‘tipping points’ and the desirability of shifting shopkeepers’ practices of keeping doors open in the winter months, in order to decrease energy use and ultimately achieve reductions in CO2 emissions.
At the core of the tipping point dynamic is the visibility of behaviours, leading to social pressures (both positive and in the form of sanctions) to adopt particulat behaviours. This team of students developed a campaign plan, taking this element of visibility into account, by asking themselves, shopkeepers, the municipality and other experts: what would it take for shops to change their door policies in winter?
The answers were as diverse as they were interesting, and the team is currently preparing their final presentation, scheduled for the UCG Project Presentation Day 19 June. The students will be passing on the fruits of their labout to the Green Office of the University of Groningen, which will carry out the campaign in Groningen next winter.
Well done Hanne, Guido, Jack and Roos! This is only the beginning…