Social and Employment
5,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2009/01/27
« Every one of us is faced with rising energy prices. And it's even tougher for families at risk. In my opinion, training jobseekers and qualifying them to become consultants in energy consumption is a very powerful idea with a bright future. »
In Leipzig, two associations have joined hands to set up a project that creates jobs and is also environmentally innovative. Caritas Leipzig, which has been active in the city since 1921 and runs many projects to support the most disadvantaged populations there, wanted to create jobs for long term jobseekers. And Ökolöwe Umweltbund, an ecological association founded in 1989, wanted to develop awareness projects in environmental conservation, particularly by reinforcing educational missions on energy issues. Together, they had the bright idea of training jobseekers in energy consultancy in homes, in order to identify "overconsumption" and to give the families useful advice to cut their energy consumption ... and reduce their bills.
A tailor-made energy diagnosis
In concrete terms, the selected jobseekers become "energy conservation consultants" after a training course of several dozen hours (begun in 2008). Equipped with measuring instruments, appropriate documentation and optimization computation software to produce accurate diagnoses, they are sent by Caritas to middle-income families. They examine their consumption of electricity, hot water and heating, and then suggest concrete measures to reduce consumption - optionally with the tools to achieve this. On a final visit, they evaluate the results obtained and make the necessary adjustments as required. In a few months of activity, this approach has already helped consolidate three jobs for persons who are now self sufficient. The aid granted by the Veolia foundation will serve to finance the office automation equipment of their three workstations. But Caritas Leipzig and Ökolöwe clearly intend to intensify this very popular initiative, and new energy consultants will be trained throughout the year 2009. Over and above its obvious social impact, this initiative participates in the overall battle against greenhouse gas emissions.