COVID-19: Restarting Living Labs Work

STEP-IN is pleased to announce that the Living Lab operations in Manchester (UK), Nyírbátor (Hungary), and Metsovo (Greece) have resumed after the suspension since mid-March 2020 caused by Covid-19 (more information here)
Improving quality of life.
Improving energy efficiency.
Improving comfort levels.


STEP-IN is a coordination and support project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme.

The project develops an innovative global methodology for the effective analysis and tackling of energy poverty. It aims to develop methods and knowledge about how enhanced energy efficiency can improve quality of life and overall comfort levels.

STEP-IN consists of a network of Living Labs across Europe. Through a strong Network of Interest, STEP-IN engages with local, national and EU organisations and experts to define policies for reducing energy poverty.

The STEP-IN consortium brings together a wide expertise in the area of energy poverty: research institutes, universities, municipalities, energy providers, charities, consumer associations and regulatory authorities. Together, these partners are dedicated to make a difference in the lives of those in need.

Young distressed man having no possibility to pay utility bills and rent
Senior Couple Meeting With Male Financial Advisor At Home

STEP-IN Focus Areas.

Consumer focus

  • Improve energy literacy and awareness for consumers affected by energy poverty
  • Support behaviour change to improve comfort levels and reduce energy costs
  • Enable informed decisions on energy efficiency and consumption
  • Use of communication tools to assist decision making
  • Minimise rebound effects
  • Reduce environmental impacts
  • Advise on available refurbishment and renewable energy programmes
  • Evaluate the impact of the above actions on the lives of those in need

Methodological focus

  • Provide a global methodology to be adopted and adapted by all actors and authorities working in the field of energy poverty
  • Make Living Lab designs and methodologies freely available for others
  • Iteratively evaluate results to refine and improve methodologies and develop new ones
  • Prove concepts in the Living Labs
  • Assess indicators and predictors for energy poverty
  • Assess the impact of measures and methodologies

policy focus

  • Create a network of partners and supporters to shape future policy and research needs
  • Foster collaboration to derive concrete actions to tackle energy poverty
  • Set-up working groups on different topics to provide policy recommendations
  • Publish results in workshops, policy meetings, public events and reports
  • Connect with other existing projects in the field of energy poverty and act in concert

Making differences in the lives of those in need.

Saving Energy

STEP-IN takes action to raise the awareness of consumers to reduce energy wasting and help them to become more energy literate.

The project also targets energy efficiency schemes, such as renovations, insulation, boiler replacement.

STEP-IN also explores existing national and local funding schemes to help make homes more energy efficient, more comfortable, and warmer – to increase quality of life.

Informed decisions

The Living Lab approach in STEP-IN aims to raise awareness on energy efficiency aspects among vulnerable consumers. Through their participation in energy cafés and benefiting from help by energy advisors, but also by learning more about their energy usage from energy graphs of their houses etc., consumers are actively engaged and able to take informed decisions.

The aim of STEP-IN is that 50% of people participating in the Living Labs undertake better decisions in the long term, thus achieving positive results and sustainability.

Renewable Energy

Part of STEP-IN is to examine the applicability and appropriate local to national funding schemes for renewable energy systems for energy poor households. The project leverages on best practice and knowledge from existing examples throughout Europe. 

While renewables are not a direct part of STEP-IN, the project aims to develop recommendations, policies and strategies regarding renewable energy investment for energy poor households.

Helping households

STEP-IN monitors the improvement of  people’s quality of life in terms of thermal comfort, savings in energy expenses, etc. The aim of the project is to help at least 50% of the households that receive a home visit through STEP-IN.

Most households targeted by STEP-IN struggle with:

  • Keeping their home comfortably warm
  • Satisfying other basic needs, most importantly food
  • Health problems
  • Arrears on utility bills
  • Homes with a leaking roof, damp walls/floors, rot in window frames



STEP-IN actions

STEP-IN aims to create active consumer communities through the three Living Labs. Consumers participate via social surveys, energy advisor home visits, and training, information exchange and discussion in energy cafés and an online platform. Hundreds of consumers will be engaged in face-to-face communication, and thousands through information campaigns and the web platform.

Policies and Strategies

STEP-IN aims to directly impact local, national and European policies and strategies through intense networking, communication and stakeholder involvement.

Local policies directly benefit through the work of local authorities and municipalities in the Living Labs. On national and European level, STEP-IN aims to formulate concrete policy recommendations, foster networking and initiate important communication and dissemination activities through workshops, stakeholder groups, training and best practice sharing.

Send us a message