Unlocking Collaborative Solutions – EU Peers project kicked-off in September!

Energy-efficient building renovation is a key practice to reduce European emissions. But this is exactly where homeowners face major, frustrating hurdles. In order to ease their renovation journey, Integrated Home Renovation Services (IHRS), or so-called One-Stop Shops for residential energy renovation (OSS), are emerging in Europe. EU Peers is here to support those IHRS / OSS through a shared Community of Practice. 

What are the main values our Community can offer? What are the major challenges we might face? Should the Community have a birthday? – Those were a few of the many questions discussed during the kick-off meeting of the EU Peers project.

The project will create the European Community of Practice for OSS in the field of residential energy renovation. We envision more than 600 members after three years, including 175 OSS initiatives. The inclusive Community will provide multiple entry points and opportunities to participate in knowledge sharing, capacity building and collaboration at various levels. For this purpose, 7 Community platforms, for 6 priority countries (IT, FR, ES, LV, HU, IRE) as well as for other EU countries, will be established.

EU Peers will advocate for improved regulatory conditions, developing European and national policy recommendations, which will be the subject of organised public policy debates. Furthermore, EU Peers will launch a campaign to engage 150 public authorities across Europe, urging them to support IHRS deployment in their respective areas.

The Indian summer during the last days of September in Netzeband (near Berlin) allowed the project team to perform a pleasant brainstorming event to discuss several challenges that the project aims to address. 20 experts in the field of OSS networks, representing 11 consortium partners came together to work on the common objective: to strengthen and upscale the IHRS concept by creating an inclusive European Community engaging practitioners in a trusting environment for collaborative problem solving

In the frame of a dynamic World Café session the team discussed the purpose and the vision of the Community, communication of best practices and best ways to ensure the Community is user-centric and sustainable on a long-term. Given the project's dual communication scope at national and EU levels, the gathering also explored crucial communication strategies, including internal coordination and member engagement. Participants contemplated essential practices required to ensure the community thrives and endures over time.

Through the presentations, the partners gained a comprehensive overview of the significant variations that exist in terms of regulation, funding mechanisms, uptake levels, and operational models of OSS across different countries. These variations highlighted the diverse challenges and opportunities faced by IHRS practitioners in various European nations.

Creative exercises were employed to visualise and describe what the EU Peers Community aspires to become and represent. The journey began with the formulation of a logo, a name, a motto, and a message—foundational elements that will shape the forthcoming communication strategy.

In the coming months, the project team will continue to lay down the groundwork for the EU Peers Community, working diligently to bring its vision to life. Through collaborative efforts and a commitment to inclusive and sustainable practices, EU Peers aims to create a thriving network that propels the field of Integrated Home Renovation Services forward in Europe.