EnergyKnip 2 – delivering more energy efficient appliances and home upgrades for households in Emmen

Municipality of Emmen
John Smalbil
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EnergyKnip 2.0 builds on the earlier EnergieKnip service with a new energy support offering that provides more energy efficient appliances to households living in energy poverty. Energy Coaches work with qualifying households to fund home energy-efficiency improvements.

New approaches and new partners build on the success of EnergyKnip

John Smalbil Emmen, Netherlands

Following up the very successful EnergyKnip project, the Municipality of Emmen and Blockchain Lab Drenthe are developing a new version of the EnergyKnip service with a new energy support offering that looks to provide more energy efficient appliances to households living in energy poverty.

What was EnergyKnip and how did it work?

In the first version of the EnergyKnip, households could earn tokens to be redeemed at a set of identified local stores. In this first version of the service EnergyKnip linked a ‘seller’ of energy efficient products (the local retailer) and a ‘buyer’– the local household. Users would fill out a survey on their household energy use and receive tokens that could be exchanged for €50 of energy efficient light bulbs and so on.

The Goal of EnergyKnip 2.0

EnergyKnip 2.0 builds on the success of the first EnergyKnip and uses the same blockchain-enabled technology to pay for the supply of energy-efficient appliances or energy-efficient home improvements (such
as insulation or window replacement). The goal of EnergyKnip 2.0 is to help a target group of residents/households in energy poverty to become more energy efficient, and to actively participate in the energy transition by accessing a personalised energy reduction offer, facilitated by the Municipality, while also supporting the local economy.

In EnergyKnip 2.0, the plan is that 320 residents who live in energy poverty and who live in a rental home will be able to exchange an energy-guzzling refrigerator or freezer for an energy-efficient one. Funds will also be made available to help 200 households with the installation of glass and insulation material by local companies. These activities will help to make their homes more energy efficient.

Local companies in the Municipality (about 12 companies ) that sell kitchen appliances have been approached to participate and a tendering process is underway to set up the replacement/ installation service. As with the first EnergyKnip project, residents and households will be financially supported but they will not directly receive any cash. These households will however be able to see the result of this investment reflected in changes in their energy bills.

The challenge for EnergyKnip 2.0 will be to connect suppliers, products, installers,
and buyers, while keeping track of both the waste stream and the proof of delivery of the services to provide evidence of the support activity to the subsidy to the Dutch Ministry
of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK). To do this the Municipality of Emmen has developed a new EnergieCoach platform which manages the workflow of the appliance swap (request, claim approval, identification of the resident, marketplace, and delivery). Payment of claims to suppliers is still managed via a blockchain-enabled solution, as in the first EnergieKnip. Appliances that are to be replaced under this programme are given
a sticker with a unique QR code, which is scanned by the supplier when the appliance is replaced. This ‘transaction’ is then saved to the blockchain, and this starts the automated payment process to the retailer/installer.

While the project is still being designed, it’s already been a success, as other organisations including a Dutch housing association have approached Emmen to participate in the programme. These new partners will provide additional funds for energy efficient interventions that will be targeted at the people living in the accommodation provided by the housing association.

Emmen hopes to launch EnergieKnip 2.0 in April/May 2023, once tendering for suppliers is complete.

The delivery approach

No money is provided to the residents in this project. All measures are supplied and installed at the homes of residents by local companies.

Emmen has a large group of approximately 80 volunteer energy coaches who have been trained and certified by the Energy Coach course at Drenthe College. Residents who have questions about how to make their houses sustainable can book a home visit from an energy coach. The coach will use their knowledge of housing structure and measuring equipment to write energy reports for each household. The coach will check the efficiency of their household appliances, and if the resident has an energy guzzling appliance the coach will then begin the EnergyKnip 2.0 appliance replacement process.