The VvE Zonnecoach
11 July 2019
Why this project?
To speed up the energy transition, it's important that solar panels are installed on as many roofs as possible in the coming years. Enpuls saw a great opportunity to achieve this with Associations of Owners (VvEs). Just because one in seven homes in the Netherlands is an apartment in a VvE. Yet there were few solar panels on VvE roofs. The big question: what is that about?
What does the project entail?
Enpuls hired service design agency Muzus to help think about this issue. Research by Muzus showed that VvE members often drop out due to the process of collectively purchasing solar panels. In particular, support was provided technical, legal and economic. VvEs require a qualified majority of the votes for installing solar panels. In practice usually amounts this to two-thirds of the votes, because it's not a regular maintenance. And that qualified majority turned out not to be in favour of most VvEs.
Therefore, Muzus developed the VvE Zonnecoach, which helps VvEs with their choice of solar panels. Precisely by guiding them through the social part and the decision-making process. The independent coach helps with the preparation of a supported proposal for the General Members' Meeting (ALV), highlights the decision moment and supports the VvE in choosing a supplier. As service designers, we approached the issue in an integral and people-oriented way rather than technically.
We approached the issue in an integral, people-oriented way - rather than a technical one
What is the contribution from and to the creative industry?
First, Muzus investigated extensively why so few VvEs purchased solar panels. They extensively mapped the living environment and needs of homeowners through context mapping and designed four personas based on this: "the community man", "the individualist", "the contributor" and "the world improver". In terms of sustainable driving force and role within the VvE, each is unique. Muzus saw the most opportunities for the action and result-oriented individualist. In co-creation with stakeholders, they worked out three business models. For this, they used the Business Model Canvas. Through diverging and converging, developing ideas and concepts very broadly and then testing and evaluating to choose the right direction, they ended up with the VvE Zonnecoach.
Co-founder and director of Muzus Neele Kistemaker: “Issues about energy saving and energy transition are generally tackled from a technical, legal or economic point of view. Therefore, solutions are often located in those areas: for example, campaigns about the payback period of solar panels or information about the technical operation of a solar boiler. We approached the issue in an integral, people-oriented way. Rather than a technical one. We also used creative methodologies to subsequently come up with innovative solutions. For example, we discovered that it was necessary to entice VvEs as a collective and that the solution lay at the social level."
And what now?
At this moment there are 6 solar coaches employed by Enpuls. 197 VvEs are supervised by them. Since the service was launched in 2018, 88 ALVs have made a positive decision on solar panels. 31 VvEs have now installed solar panels on their roofs. The goal was to save 236 tons of CO2 in 2018 and 708 tons of CO2 in the second year. After the service ran for 15 months, 1.1 million kg was saved and 983 tonnes kg of CO2 were in the portfolio. The service has been extended from the Enexis area to national coverage, due to its success. Enpuls is now looking for a commercial party to privatize the service.