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BEhavE 2012: How can we get people and businesses to be more energy efficient?

Helsinki hosts an international conference, aiming to find out what can be done to encourage more individuals and businesses to adopt energy-efficient practices.


Tuula Sjöstedt

Lead, Communications and Public Affairs, Sitra


Press release by the National Consumer Research Centre, Motiva and Sitra, 15 August 2012

A diverse group of international researchers and experts will discuss the interface between consumer behaviour and the promotion of energy efficiency at the Cable Factory in Helsinki on 20–21 September 2012. With over 60 presentations at the BEhavE conference, experts will be exploring how new technologies, innovative products and services, information and steering by the authorities change people’s energy behaviour and attitudes.

The researchers and experts attending the conference represent 16 nationalities. Although more than 60 presentations were chosen to be held at the 16 simultaneous sessions of the event, many more were submitted.

“We are pleased that the conference is seen as an excellent opportunity to inform people about research results and practical applications and to hear about the accomplishments of others. We believe that the selected presentations are representative of the diversity of technologies, methods and innovative applications in the field,” says Irmeli Mikkonen, Consultant, Energy Efficiency for Consumers and Services, Motiva.

Saving energy and enhancing its efficient use pose great challenges to citizens, decision-makers, the authorities and companies. The authorities and companies must provide information and guidance as well as insightful and energy-efficient products and services that meet consumers’ needs and wishes. This enables consumers to make carefully thought-through decisions and be aware of their effects.

New insights and top-level expertise

Contributing scientific expertise to the conference preparations, Research Professor Eva Heiskanen from the National Consumer Research Centre is expecting to see groundbreaking presentations. She has been wondering why the promotion of energy efficiency is gaining momentum much more slowly than expected and why profitable measures are not taken: “Presentations at the conference will shed light on problems and solutions from fresh and promising perspectives. The role of local communities, user-focused design and the joint development of technology and social order are topical issues in Finland as well as internationally,” says Heiskanen. “Energy users are seen not only as separate individuals making rational decisions, but also as members of workplaces and representatives of their environments.”

On the first day of the conference, the keynote speakers will be Policy Analyst Sara Bryan Pasquier from the International Energy Agency, Manager of Energy and Climate Cooperation Rob P. Kool from the NL Agency of the Netherlands and Bruce J. Oreck, Ambassador of the United States to Finland. Discussions will be moderated by Chairman of the Board Juhani Wiio from Motiva.

On the second day, the keynote speakers will be Policy Officer Krzysztof Gierulski from the European Commission, Dr Staffan Jacobsson from the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Chairman of the Board Philip Sellwood from the Energy Saving Trust in the UK. Eva Heiskanen will act as moderator.

Consumer behaviour reflected in energy efficiency

The conference will be held at the Cable Factory in Ruoholahti in Helsinki, with Motiva being responsible for practical arrangements. Sitra is the main sponsor of the event, which is also supported by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Ministry of the Environment and Helsingin Energia.

The conference will also discuss topics related to Sitra’s Energy Programme, which ends this year. VesaMatti Lahti, the Senior Lead in Consumer Behaviour at Sitra says: “From the viewpoint of citizens, key issues in the programme have been the development of energy counselling services, the promotion of unbiased information and the development and testing of functional and encouraging structures and practices. For energy efficiency projects to succeed, people and their behaviour must be taken into consideration even in technological projects.”

In addition to Lahti, the members of the organising committee are Eva Heiskanen from the National Consumer Research Centre, Ruth Rettie from Kingston University in the UK, Michael Ornetzeder from the Institute of Technology Assessment of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and Päivi Laitila and Irmeli Mikkonen from Motiva. The NL Agency of the Netherlands organised a similar event in 2009.

More information

Irmeli Mikkonen, Consultant, Motiva, tel. +358 424 218 213,
Vesa‐Matti Lahti, Senior Lead, Sitra, tel. +358 50 387 3188, vesa‐
Eva Heiskanen, Research Professor, National Consumer Research Center, tel. +358 50 321 0190,

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