14-16 October 2014
Portorož, Slovenia
Europe/Ljubljana timezone
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4. New initiatives in Education for Sustainable Development

Education, training, tools and services to enhance sustainable household consumption


  • Mrs. Marja SALO

Primary authors


Abstract content

Household consumption (housing, mobility, food, goods and services) accounts for about 70 % of the carbon footprint of Finland (i.e. greenhouse-gas emissions caused by the domestic final use of products in Finland). The Final Draft of IPCC 2014 report on climate change mitigation emphasizes the need for diverse actions across sectors that are needed to limit the global warming to 2 degrees Celsius. Changes in human behaviour and consumption patterns are recognized as parts of the portfolio to cut emissions. This is essential because of the possible rebound effect, i.e. that the technical improvements can be offset by increased consumption.

Ecological sustainability of lifestyles and especially housing are the focus of the on-going Finnish Ecohome project, which is funded by the Ministry of Environment and belongs to the pilot projects of the Finnish Programme to Promote Sustainable Consumption and Production. The project is coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute and carried out in close cooperation with four key partners in Finland specialized in education and training, energy guidance and maintenance and renovations of residential buildings. Aim of the project is to help households to decrease their energy consumption and carbon footprint through less carbon intensive consumption patterns, lifestyles and housing. In practice the project consists of pilots in which services, education and training, web-based tools and well planned discussions with ordinary people in different events are developed and used for this purpose.

The project consortium has identified six main target groups to work with. These are: professionals and SMEs that provide maintenance and renovations services for households and housing corporations, teachers of all-round education, regional advisory centres for energy and environmental issues, NGOs that guide ordinary people for more sustainable consumption. The target groups are seen as gatekeepers who enable and support households for more sustainable consumption.

Practical outcomes of the pilots include educational tools and programs for the professional audience and youth (in schools), support for SMEs to develop business models related to energy efficient maintenance and renovations of residential buildings, carbon footprint calculation tools for public use, tool-supported action models for discussing carbon footprint and mitigation measures with people and cooperation to advocate sustainable lifestyles. SMEs gain assets to develop their business models and better respond to the demand to increase energy and cost efficiency of housing. NGO’s and teachers of all round education get tools, data and support to strengthen sustainability and carbon footprint perspective in their work. These activities were also designed to support and supplement Finnish policy instrument packages aimed at decreasing climate impacts of consumption.

The article summarizes the results of the pilots and experiments and discusses the learnings and potential for further applying and spreading the kinds of education, tools and action models.

Key words

sustainability carbon household consumption education training housing energy SME NGO