EYMD – How to make energy efficiency… sexy?

Cobertura do European Youth Event 2014 (Estrasburgo, 9 a 11 de maio) no âmbito do European Youth Media Days.

How to make energy efficiency… sexy?

Vox pop at the European Youth Event 2014

Aline Flor and Kait Bolongaro

Image and editing: Aline Flor

How to make energy efficiency more… sexy?

Renewables and the big issue of finding sustainable energy resources are on top of energy public agenda, but there’s also a huge part of our sustainable future that depends on the way we use energy in our everyday life.

Paul Fleming, Energy Efficiency researcher at De Montfort University, UK, was part of the debate in the EYE2014 about Energy in Europe, reminding the pressing necessity of reducing our consumption and using energy efficiently.

But how can we make people care about such “boring” stuff? Fleming talked to us about what he has tried so far.

How can you make energy efficiency more appealing to young people?

Energy efficiency is quite a difficult subject because it’s so boring, you can’t really get people interested in isolation and heating controls. So how to make that change? How do you get people excited about something that’s relatively boring? One way is to make energy efficiency fun, exciting, but we haven’t found out how to do that yet. It’s quite difficult because you’re competing with the media out there – TV, Radio, newspapers, the Internet – and it’s all about “consume more, consume more, have a happier life by using more energy”. We are trying to say to people “you can have a happy life using less energy”, and it’s a big challenge.

Do you think there is this big obsession with one big plan instead of several small measures?

That’s what people want. Quite often people say “what’s 3 things you’d do? What’s the single thing you’d do?” Well, there isn’t a single thing, it’s a combination of lots and lots of different things. It’s a combination of technical measures, behavioural measures, not just how you live but where you live, where you work, what you eat, where you go on holiday… and that’s complicated.

Is it that hard to make people care?

If I was trying to talk to you about that it would take quite a while and you’d get a bit upset sometimes because I’d be suggesting things that you’re uncomfortable with. But over the long time a dialog between people to identify what you could do and how you could change your lifestyle could make you change it for the better. It’s not the negative things about “reduce that, reduce this, change the way you’re doing it” in a negative way. It’s about what you’re doing now, how can we make you happier through energy efficiency.

How to make energy efficiency more sexy, then?

The best examples are talking face to face to people, through peer education and asking questions about your lifestyle, giving you suggestions of how you might want to change your lifestyle to reduce your carbon footprint, to reduce your energy, to be a happier person and to save money.

If you want to know more about how to save energy (and money) and reduce your carbon footprint, check these projects out:

Face Your Elephant


Did you know you could reduce your average carbon footprint from the weigth of 2.500 cats down to the weigth of a baby elephant? Check where you are with the carbon calculator in the Face Your Elephant website and start being friends with the Earth again.

Smart Spaces


If you have no idea of what is a good energy consumption standard for a sustainable building, explore this website where you can find information about the use of electricity, gas and water in several buildings in Leicester, UK.

Aline Flor and Kait Bolongaro


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