When social entrepreneurs and university researchers design tomorrow’s energy solutions

With the support of Rexel and its Foundation, scientists and social economy actors are coming together to design long-term solutions, an approach that is all the more relevant in the context of a health crisis that has placed environmental issues at the forefront of public concerns.

 

Energie Partagée relies on citizen involvement

Tomorrow’s energy solutions will include an environmental dimension thanks to a design that limits their impact on our planet. Collective multi-dimensional initiatives, complementary to more individual actions, often have a significant impact on the ecosystem. This is the goal of the EcoBlock urban retrofitting project, which aims to reduce block-scale water and energy consumption. The program involves a panel of professionals with complementary expertise: engineers, social science specialists, urban designers. They work closely with residents, who are more likely to be engaged if they feel like active players responsible for the program’s success. The pilot project is located in the Golden Gate neighborhood of Oakland, California, where 28 contiguous houses have been connected to a new energy and water distribution system. Solar panels have replaced old electrical networks and water consumption has been optimized by recycling wastewater, collecting rainwater and installing water-efficient equipment. Financed entirely by foundations and public funds, this program, potentially replicable wherever needed and supported by the Rexel Foundation, demonstrates the effectiveness of bold local initiatives run by innovative and committed stakeholders.

Reconciling modest housing and effective insulation

Since 2012, Rexel has also supported Stacey Epperson, founder of Next Step, whose mission is to make house ownership affordable and sustainable for all. She set the goal of enabling thousands of households currently living in very precarious circumstances or in low-grade mobile homes in the United States to find support in order to move into premanufactured houses compliant with stringent insulation standards and ENERGY STAR-certified. Moreover, several passive energy houses are now in the testing phase. With 1,500 homeowners benefitting from the program and with the support of its partners, Next Step is truly helping people to escape from the precariousness associated with their former housing. In France as well, fuel poverty remains a major issue affecting 3.3 million households, according to a 2018 study.

In full awareness of this situation, the Hope Chair, launched by the Grenoble INP Foundation and supported by the Rexel Foundation, aims to measure the impact of fuel poverty in a precise and objective way in order to offer innovative solutions tailored to each context. It shares its expertise with all stakeholders involved in housing improvement, helping them to design concrete long-term solutions on the economic level, as well as on the technical and organizational level in order to lift households out of fuel poverty.

Green Village bets on direct power

Green Village, the experimental campus of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, wanted to start its revolution with the power grid. This project is resolutely committed to sustainable development and experimentation with concrete solutions to change energy production, distribution, and consumption habits. By gradually developing a direct power network connected to solar panels powering an office building, this next-generation power network developed hand-in-hand with Rexel Netherlands made it possible to test radically new energy solutions based on cutting-edge technologies. This innovative, inclusive, and eco-responsible project combines all the key features necessary to achieve the successful energy transition of our economy and our services on a daily basis.

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