The SHARED GREEN DEAL’s Social Experiment on Efficient Renovations 

With energy use in buildings accounting for around 40% of total energy use in Europe, there is a drastic need to make buildings more energy-efficient, especially considering that 85% of the European building stock was built before 2001 and is typically not energy-efficient. Consequently, the EU (European Union) launched its Renovation Wave Strategy and Action Plan in 2020. Considering that all these existing buildings have people living or working in them, the involvement of citizens in this process is essential. Aiming to contribute to the understanding of why renovation matters and what can be done for buildings’ and inhabitants’ needs, the SHARED GREEN DEAL project is launching its social experiment on efficient renovations with four local partners.  

The social experiment aims at developing local knowledge networks to share information and skills between citizens and professionals. By engaging residents or users before renovations, respecting their skills and wishes while enhancing their capacities to become active energy citizens, SHARED GREEN DEAL will develop and share knowledge and know-how for the most important stakeholders in all renovations: the residents or users of the buildings. The experiment will also focus on the types of knowledge that matter in energy renovation, including factual and technical information, practical and tacit know-how, and cultural understandings. SHARED GREEN DEAL will deepen the use of knowledge networks that emphasise the power of social learning through ongoing, interactive, participatory mechanisms.  

Integrating an intersectional approach towards renovation will be essential in implementing the experiments and building the local knowledge networks, concentrating primarily on the intersection of gender and energy poverty. By integrating this approach, the social experiment focuses on gendered needs and renovation performances and draws attention to how gender norms and roles impact the conditions in which renovation processes take place (e.g., the female connotation of the home or the male-centred media and advertisement around renovation). Moreover, by addressing energy poverty, the experiment recognises that women have a higher risk of being affected by it due to the various injustices they face (e.g., gender pay gap, gender care gap, gender pension gap). Therefore, the social experiments will open discussions on knowledge for efficient renovations while engaging with gender transformative measures. These learnings and adjustments will drive efficient renovations forward, as diversity in perspectives increases the overall effectiveness and resilience of social and ecological transformations while contributing to overcoming stereotypical societal structures.  

Local partners  

The social experiment will be implemented by four local partners across Europe, which were selected through an open call for proposals between November 2022 and January 2023. In total, the SHARED GREEN DEAL consortium selected 24 local partners to work locally across six different European Green Deal topics: Clean Energy, Circular Economy, Preserving Biodiversity, Sustainable Mobility, Efficient Renovations and Sustainable Food. 

The efficient renovation team, consisting of 3 project partners – Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), Aalborg University (AAU) and Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) – is happy to introduce the local renovation partners.  


ECODES is a non-governmental organisation in Zaragoza, Spain, which promotes clean and affordable energy for everyone with a focus on citizens, aiming for an active role of citizens in the just transition to a decarbonised, equitable and fair energy model from a social and intergenerational point of view. They have been running the initiative No Home Without Energy, born with the prospect of creating and testing working methodologies to tackle energy poverty and improve energy efficiency in low-income households.  

ECODES, as a local partner, will focus on urban residential energy poverty. With the expertise of 10+ years in energy poverty, ECODES will create a knowledge network (including different stakeholders, for instance, homeowners, neighbourhoods, tenants’ associations, professionals, public administration, the financial sector, and innovation centres) to develop a socially-just and energy-efficient renovation strategy considering the feasibility and inclusivity of addressed solutions.  

Let’s renovate the city (VšĮ Atnaujinkime miestą), Lithuania 

Let’s renovate the city (VšĮ Atnaujinkime miestą), a public institution founded in 2007 by Vilnius, Lithuania, promoting and implementing the energy-efficient refurbishment of multi-apartment buildings. Within the last few years, they specialised in a one-stop shop (OSS) where residents can find all the information and services required to implement renovation projects from a single source. This helps to motivate people and communities to engage with energy-efficient renovation if they are sceptical about its feasibility and usefulness. To reduce environmental pollution, the experiment will focus on effective communication campaigns to increase the involvement of the public and private sectors and homeowners by organising regular meetings and events to reach a mutual understanding of the importance and implementation possibilities of energy-efficient deep renovations of residential blocks. All actions towards building a participative knowledge network will be embedded in the program of the “100 Mission Cities” strategy, of which Vilnius is a part, to ensure that the city acts as an experimentation and innovation hub involving its citizens. 

Mayo County Council, Ireland 

Mayo County Council is a regional authority of the County Mayo, Ireland. Its Climate Action Office has been communicating the benefits of retrofitting homes and moving away from burning fossil fuels to deeply commit to creating a better future for all inhabitants in the area.  

As a local partner in the experiment, Mayo County Council will concentrate on the rural area of Louisburgh locality (including Clare Island and Inishturk Island) – a mountainous area on the Western Seaboard of the county, and work together with the Community Group Climate Action Louisburgh locality (CALL). The region is heavily affected by energy poverty, and currently, many residents (26% are over the age of 60) are either self-renovating or applying for statal renovation funds and therefore searching for professional support for renovation. Especially concerning fuels used for heating, a transformation is challenging as the residents of remote, mountainous areas have the right to cut and use the traditional heating source of turf (Turbary Rights). They hope to overcome the lack of awareness and experience of the benefits and improved quality of life through a retrofitted home and enhance the know-how of the communities.  

Habitat for Humanity (Magyarország Alapítvány), Hungary 

Habitat for Humanity is a non-governmental organisation in Budapest, Hungary, which designs projects and advocacy activities to help people in need of a decent home throughout the country. Since its foundation in 1996, Habitat for Humanity Hungary has built more than 150 houses, renovated approximately 800 homes, and provided technical counselling to improve the housing of families. Rural residential energy poverty has been one of the organisation’s priorities since 2016. 

As a local partner, Habitat for Humanity will focus on the Nógrád region, characterised by the low energy performance of buildings, lower wages, and education levels (compared to the national average), increasing the risk of energy poverty. Nógrád is the second smallest county, located northeast of Budapest, on the border with Slovakia. An existing initiative, the Rural Assist Programme (RAP), will be scaled up for the involved households and stakeholders. The project aims to address available technical, social and community solutions tailored to the renovation needs of low-income households, especially families. This often includes minorities in the region; for example, Roma people are widely represented among low-income groups due to the multitude of (structural) inequalities they face. Overall, the social experiment will showcase actual implementation to build up and share knowledge on lowering houses’ high energy demand and increasing the family’s financial awareness.