Mooi Wildeman (Amsterdam Smart City)

Community project to foster energy awareness and smart energy behaviour

‘Mooi Wildeman’ is a community project to foster energy awareness and smart energy behaviour in the Wildemanbuurt, a multi-ethnic low-income neighbourhood in Amsterdam. A series of workshops with residents was arranged, aiming to investigate public awareness of sustainability in the neighbourhood. The purpose of the workshops was to start a co-creation process with residents to make the Wildeman Neighbourhood prettier, smarter and more sustainable. The workshops were facilitated by consultants from DSO Alliander and The Beach Sustainist Design. A neighbourhood approach to foster energy awareness and smart energy behaviour was investigated in the theme of sustainability; which resulted in S3C support on how to set up a co-creation process with residents and the provision of expert knowledge regarding end user feedback and neighbourhood based opportunities to raise energy awareness.

The motivation for this project came from a community workshop in the neighbourhood of Amsterdam West in the spring of 2014. A discussion with some residents of the Wildeman neighbourhood exposed a neighbourhood-wide question of energy use and potential savings. From this question it was decided to set up a co-creation process with the residents of the Wildeman neighbourhood. The workshop process was facilitated by Amsterdam Smart City and The Beach, in collaboration with S3C. Two consultants from DSO Alliander were involved in the process on behalf of Amsterdam Smart City. 

With the project title ‘Saving money with smart energy: the positive energy project’ this project consisted of a series of eight workshops with residents. This process resulted in insights in energy use for residents, more energy awareness, potential energy savings and an exploration of the opportunities for local renewable energy. Alliander facilitated these workshops together with The Beach. For S3C, ECN followed this co-creation process in order to test the S3C guideline for Co-creation. After each workshop, a short meeting was held to discuss how to proceed. In addition ECN presented inspirational best practice examples concerning energy saving in neighbourhoods in one of the workshops. According to the project partners who applied the co-creation guideline, it reflected what is important in practice when working on these processes, and that it is written in a way colleagues can be convinced that co-creation is a good way to engage with consumers at an early stage.

Detailed description of the integration of end users and the design of the interaction scheme in this project

The core idea of this project was to achieve a shift in awareness, attitude and behaviour concerning energy use. It is a clear example of a user centred approach, that relates both to the Smart Customer, and to end user role as a Smart Citizen. The project focused on fostering energy awareness and capacity building of citizens.

Impressions of workshop #1 (source: the S3C consortium)

In the co-creation project ‘Saving money with smart energy: the positive energy project’ the steps 1 to 8 (see below) were designed to map how to engage residents and how to involve them in the project. The approach was based on a co-design methodology developed by The Beach Sustainist Design, and tailored to the subject of smart energy. The methodology consisted of four steps – Explore, Investigate, Design and Present – which were addressed in eight consecutive workshops between mid-September and mid-November 2014. 

The workshops were facilitated by consultants from Alliander (on behalf of Amsterdam Smart City) with support from The Beach. The actual implementation of the different workshops was adjusted and determined along the way, depending on choices and the progress made. After each workshop, the results, lessons learned and the next steps were discussed by the facilitator from Alliander and ECN (on behalf of S3C).
  • Explore #1: ‘Energy expedition’ – Exploring the neighbourhood by using maps that show energy use per housing block together with taking walks to map the energy use of the neighbourhood.
  • Explore #2: ‘Mapping energy use and energy behaviour’ – Depicting daily practices of domestic energy use through photos and personal diaries. 
  • Investigate #1: How can the neighbourhood Wildeman save energy? – Residents investigating ideas on how to collectively save energy in their own neighbourhood.
  • Investigate #2: Ideas for energy saving and local energy production –Brainstorming about ideas on how to individually and/or collectively save energy in their own neighbourhood and explore opportunities to generate renewable energy.
  • Investigate #3: Ideas for energy saving and local energy production – sequel to the previous workshop.
  • Design #1: From design to creating a prototype (first session) – Developing concepts and prototypes and mapping relevant stakeholders for implementation.
  • Design #2: From design to creating a prototype – sequel to the previous workshop.
  • Present: Public event with neighbourhood residents, local policy makers and other stakeholders in which the ideas and prototypes that emerged from the co-creation process were presented and discussed.

Impression of workshop #3 including residential users from the Mooi Wildeman quarter (source: the S3C consortium)

The first two workshops exposed a widely shared question about energy literacy among residents in the Wildemanbuurt neighbourhood: how can we lower energy use and reduce our energy bills? Several residents kept an energy diary and stakeholders were invited to provide insight in the resident’s energy use and potential savings. During the next workshops, the focus shifted towards opportunities for local renewable energy generation through solar PV. This led to exploring scenarios to organize PV-generation on the roofs of social housing blocks. Although no actual technologies were tested or implemented in the project, the objective to realize a shift in awareness, attitudes and behaviour concerning energy use in the Wildemanbuurt was achieved. Two partners are currently looking at possibilities for follow up projects (e.g. a feasibility study, stakeholder alignment).

Example output from workshop #1: Energy heat maps showing electricity consumption per building block (source: Alliander)

Impression of workshop session #2: energy diaries of the residents of the neighbourhood

Collaboration with the partners

Collaborating partners:
  • The Beach Sustainist Design: facilitates the workshops and supports the designs and creation of the ideas and concepts of the participants. 
  • Alliander: coordinates and moderates the workshops; provides data concerning local energy use and explores the possibilities of energy savings for the participating households. In addition they do a quick scan on the possibilities of the local business case on locally produced renewable energy.
  • S3C (ECN): Monitors the co-creation process to collect knowledge for the co-creation guideline for the S3C toolkit. ECN was present on several workshops and provided expert knowledge on how to reduce energy consumption and neighbourhood based citizen initiatives. 
  • Participating Wildemanbuurt residents: actively participating the workshops and are the ambassadors of the project.
  • Wijksteunpunt Wonen (Nieuw West): Municipal support organisation for social housing residents, providing knowledge and information on domestic energy consumption.
  • Stadgenoot: Housing association owning a large part of the housing stock in the Wildemanbuurt, involved in the preparation phase to recruit participants and open to discuss plans and ideas.
  • Lucas community: Local SME-association in the Wildemanbuurt, approached to discuss plans and ideas for energy saving and renewable energy generation. 
A short description on the usage of the guideline within this project:

The involvement of S3C workshop took off with an informal workshop meeting in which ECN presented the goals and set-up of the S3C project, followed by the activities of WP5 and the related output. The consultants from The Beach and Alliander/Amsterdam Smart City presented their working program for the Wildemanbuurt. This was followed by a general discussion on where S3C could meet the need of the goals of the consultants and their project. S3C could support the project by presenting to participating residents information about feedback on energy use and about community approaches on saving energy. For S3C, the project was an interesting opportunity to develop and test a guideline on co-creation. To this end, it was decided that ECN would contact Alliander after every workshop to discuss progress, lessons learned so far and next to take in following workshops. 

For additional information on the Mooi Wildeman project, please click here (Dutch) or visit the Amsterdam Smart City website.

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