BLOG: Using Behaviour Change to inform energy advice

by Blog

About Energise Manchester

Running from 2023-March 2025, Carbon Co-op’s ‘Energise Manchester’ project is a Local Energy Advice Demonstrator (LEAD) project. The project aims to apply innovative and proven public health targeting and Behaviour Change design approaches to the delivery of in person, local energy advice.

To put this another way, we’re learning from how public health organisations deliver advice at a community level, and we’re applying these lessons to our delivery of energy advice.

We’re working across a number of areas in South Manchester to deliver this energy advice to both marginalised (‘hard to reach’) communities and hard-to-treat properties. The project will support learning at Government level and thus inform current and new policies for energy advice.

Our project covers three thematic areas:

  • Warm for Winter: Focus on simple energy saving actions that householders can take in their own home. Supporting householders to install low-cost energy saving measures via a handyperson service or by themselves using DIY methods.
  • Heat Pump Ready: Focus on basic retrofit measures that improve the building fabric in anticipation of a heat pump installation. Supporting householders to understand the journey of installing a heat pump.
  • Whole House Heroes: Focus on helping householders who want to carry out a deep retrofit to develop a detailed, actionable plan for their retrofit project. Enabling these householders to become a local champion for retrofit, documenting and sharing their experiences with others in their community.

Note that these are working titles, used within the project and not necessarily for public-facing or marketing purposes!

Our project objectives include:

  • Devising an effective, scalable approach to Behaviour Change Design for energy advice activities.
  • Using our Behaviour Change Approach to specify, design and iteratively test and reformulate energy advice approaches.
  • Documenting the project findings, in particular our learning with regards to Behaviour Change Design and its application to in person energy advice.
  • Disseminating our learning to project stakeholders, with particular reference to government policy makers.

The project partners are:

  • Carbon Coop: An energy services and advocacy co-operative. The lead partners on this project, responsible for developing and delivering energy advice.
  • People Powered Retrofit: A retrofit one-stop-shop operating across the North West. Responsible for supporting technical aspects of energy advice, training, community engagement, and development of the Behaviour Change Design methodology.
  • Manchester Care & RepairA home improvement agency, providing a variety of services to help people stay safe, secure and independent in their own home. Responsible for delivering energy advice to their service users.
  • SnookA human-centred design agency. Responsible for delivering the Behaviour Change Design aspects of the project.
  • ShortworkA social research organisation with expertise in qualitative and creative research. Responsible for project evaluation.

About this blog

I’m a User Researcher at People Powered Retrofit. My role in the Energise Manchester project is to coordinate the Behaviour Change Design aspects of the project and develop our Behaviour Change Design approach. I’ll be working closely with all members of the team to develop this, in particular our partners at Snook.

I have years of experience in the related fields of Instructional Design and Service Design, but Behaviour Change is a new area for me; I’m looking forward to learning more about it and implementing this approach across this project.

I’m writing this blog to document the development of our Behaviour Change approach and share our learnings with others who might be interested in applying similar methodologies to the development of community energy advice.