Location: Kortrijk, Belgium
Participants: Intercommunale Leiedal
The project focuses on collective renovations as a means to empower citizens for the energy transition.
Intercommunale Leiedal is the intermunicipal association of 13 cities and municipalities in the Kortrijk region (Belgium), and supports the local policy on housing renovation. This is done under the umbrella of “Warmer Wonen”, a governance structure in which all key actors in housing and renovation policy cooperate.
In the framework of the Horizon2020 project “REFURB” (2015-2018), Leiedal developed and piloted the “renovation coach” approach. A business model was created, a housing market segmentation was made, a proof of concept was tested, and a cooperation with stakeholders was set up. The concept of the “customer journey” was used to flesh out the housing renovation program in which the renovation coach services fits.
A renovation coach assists homeowners in their renovation process. Being an independent and professional, the renovation coach offers tailor-made answers and solutions for homeowners: being technical, organisational, financial, etc. (S)he helps to tackle all the barriers the homeowners encounters in his/her renovation process. Doing so, the goal is to increase the quality of renovations, the number of completed renovations, and the number of initiated renovations. The renovation coach targets the untapped potential for renovation (“I want to renovate but I don’t know where to start”. Doing so, the renovation coach empowers citizens to start to renovate.
Within the EMPOWER 2.0-pilot, it is tested if the renovation coach service can be tweaked and changed to organise collective renovations. Pilot projects from abroad report about the success of collective renovations, being on neighbourhood scale, on apartment block scale, on city level. In a collective renovation process, multiple homeowners go parallel through the renovation process and synergies are searched. Peer pressure and peer review seem to have additional advantages, beyond the operational advantages (e.g. group purchases, upscaling of works). But the transferability of these concepts to different contexts might be tricky, and the integration with the renovation coach way of working is to be achieved. In the pilots, a higher level of empowerment of citizens is targeted than in the revovation coach approach, although the renovation coach will play its role.
In the pilot, 3 concepts of collective renovation are tested:
Within Empower 2.0, Leidedal wants to support the roll-out of the neighbourhood premium via the “Renovation Coach” service of Leiedal (www.warmerwonen.be), and by extension also encourage other collective renovation projects. The Buurkracht project in the Netherlands is a source of inspiration for this.
Leiedal builds on the broad partnership of WarmerWonen, but it also seeks to connect with other actors and neighbourhood-oriented initiatives. It is looking for ways like communication tools, climate caravan ... to be present in the neighbourhood in a visible and accessible way and at the same time approachable / deployable.