How Can We Help?

Evaluation of the EU Life+ Water and Energy Project Waves 1-4 (2011)

You are here:
← All Topics

This report seeks to demonstrate the link between water and energy to consumers and promote the benefits of adopting water and energy efficient behaviour. Three communication and marketing approaches were tested for their effectiveness. The three-year project was conducted in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, where over 25,000 people received advice on water efficiency. A survey of people receiving the advice was used to evaluate the impact of the message and method of delivery. It showed that awareness about the fact that saving water saves energy increased from an average of 8% before to 16% by the end of the project. Recognition about the importance of saving water grew from 78 % to 93% over the course to the project.

1 SUMMARY

Evidence tells us that people generally don’t make the link between their hot water use and energy, or the impact this has on their energy bills. Nor do they fully appreciate the multiple benefits that can be gained through simple water efficiency improvements. Therefore, the aim of this project was to show the link between water and energy to consumers, and promote the benefits of adopting water and energy‐efficient behaviour. At the same time we were able to test the effectiveness of different communication and marketing approaches.

In the UK, approximately 30 per cent of an average home’s energy bills can be attributed to heating hot water – or around £200 (€220) per year, whilst water use in the home on average contributes to around a quarter of domestic carbon emissions. This presents a significant opportunity to reduce carbon emissions and energy bills, as well as to save water, all through simple water efficiency changes.

Consumers in the UK have never benefited from a national or joined up education programme on water and energy efficiency, so many people have a poor perception of water use –for example ‘I don’t see how it can be a problem in this country – it rains all the time’

This three year project was funded to run from January 2009‐December 2011, with activities running from September 2009 to April 2011. It was conducted in London, Edinburgh and Cardiff, to test the effect of various communication approaches in three different urban centres in the UK. Over 25,000 people received water efficiency advice during the project in these areas, exceeding the project target of 22,500. A survey of people receiving the advice was used to evaluate the impact of the message and method of delivery.

Project aims:

  • Raise consumer awareness in this new area – reach a minimum of 22,500 consumers
  • Pilot innovative approaches to provide water and energy advice
  • Investigate the viability of combining water and sustainable energy advice
  • Influence consumer behaviour to reduce their carbon emissions and preserve resources and move towards a national water saving culture
  • Analyse the differences in three pilot areas – London, Cardiff and EdinburghThese objectives align with the EU’s (20:20:20) objectives on climate change, adaptation and mitigation, sustainable consumption and production, and water scarcity and drought. They also support the 6th European Environment Plan’s strategic objectives including ensuring sustainable water use over the long‐term, achieving good status of bodies of water and tackling water scarcity by helping the emergence of a water saving culture.