Digital education and energy sustainability: how much do we know?

Cittadinanzattiva data

Less than half of citizens know their energy expenses. Two out of three know the energy bonus but they consider it inadequate. And in the South, one in three citizens is still unaware of the imminent end of the protected market. The majority is ready to choose renewable sources.

This is the photograph of the Cittadinanzattiva Report regarding the civic consultation relating to energy sustainability which involved over 3 thousand citizens.

Greater attention has been recorded across the country. Sensitivity yes, but not enough to make almost everyone well aware of the path ahead and that undertaken by national government measures and at European level. You notice a alarming territorial gap and generational in terms of knowledge and access to adequate tools to deal with the energy issue. Once again, it is the citizens residing in the southern areas of the country who are the least informed and able to develop a real energy citizenship, just as it is possible to highlight the lack of interest on the part of very young people (18-25) on energy issues and concern mainly economic in the under 45s.

“We are living in a very delicate moment for families – commented Tiziana Toto, national manager of consumer policies of Active Citizenship -: soon there will be the end of the protected market and unfortunately not everywhere consumers have reached a level of information that allows them to make an informed choice, especially after the recent periods of continuous increases. At the same time, this critical context, however, could provide the right impetus to the diffusion of a new concept of energy citizenship according to which the citizen abandons the role of passive consumer and becomes an active subject and protagonist of the new energy market which cannot, and must not, leave anyone behind. Elements on which to leverage are certainly environmental awareness, a sense of responsibility and coordinated action by all those involved, starting from the citizens themselves and their communities of reference”.

The energy market

The consultation revealed that regarding the energy market, Italians are concerned about the economic impact of utilities, but less than half know their consumption and expenses. Specifically, 77.5% inform themselves on energy issues mainly because they recognize its production among the main causes of climate change (34.6%), as well as for the direct impact on their family budget (26.4 %).

When questioned about the news of the overcoming of the protected market, 72% admitted to being aware of it, but the percentage drops to 64% in the southern areas of the country, reaching even lower levels among those with lower levels of education and for young people ( in those under 25 the percentage drops to 29%). Confirming these numbers, the consumers involved read the bill and found it clear only in 28% of cases.

Energy efficiency

As regards energy efficiency, however, half of citizens save to make ends meet but also for ethical reasons. To combat high bills, the most adopted behavior is related to reducing consumption and efficient use of energy.

In numbers: 80% of respondents believe that energy saving can contribute to reducing global warming; over 47% feel ethically obliged to reduce energy consumption, 45% of cases would do so for an economic reason. But only 32.5% of respondents know the energy class of their home and 37% of citizens believe that interventions to avoid heat loss and waste would be a priority.

Renewable energies

Another theme at the center of environmental sustainability is the use of renewable energy, for which more than one citizen in two would choose it.

An interesting fact that emerged is that over 80% of the citizens interviewed expressed their interest in knowing the origin of the energy they consume, and half would be willing to sign up for an offer to supply energy produced exclusively by renewables, even if it isn’t the cheapest. Citizens with lower incomes and citizens who live in condominiums express interest in installing renewable sources but report economic and bureaucratic difficulties.

Around 50% of citizens have heard of renewable energy communities and attribute to them the main function of reducing energy costs for those who are part of them (55.6%) and also a measure to combat energy poverty (48.4 %).

Energy poverty

The consultation continued on what is defined as the energy bonus, considered inadequate in terms of amounts and access methods. Over 60% of citizens are familiar with the concept of energy poverty, although they understand different facets of meaning. To combat energy poverty, citizens consider the development of renewable and supportive energy communities to be important (51%), followed by financing for the most vulnerable (39.5%).

Community energy

The Community Energy project, from which this consultation was born, has as its objectives: to increase consumer awareness regarding the issues of sustainable development, with particular attention to energy efficiency, the use of energy from renewable sources, and the issue of energy poverty ; increase knowledge and competence of citizens and local stakeholders on the topic of energy sustainability and the possible actions to be implemented to contribute to a just ecological transition; arrive at the definition of new proposals for good practices that can promote the sustainable development of the local community.