« In energy issues, it's vitally important to educate the people in order to link climate change with energy conservation. This nonprofit has a dynamic relationship with the partners in the area, accompanied by an analysis of the results and the drafting of a precise report: the project will be repeatable and a source of inspiration for other communities and regions. »
Asparagus-Empreinte Nature is an environmental education nonprofit working in the commune of Argenteuil and environs since 2001. It aims to share knowledge and expertise to foster the spread of environment friendly practices. By relying on the professional skills of its members and working alongside other partners (nonprofits and municipalities), it offers events and training programs. It draws up, implements and evaluates projects, runs a website, and circulates a bi-monthly newsletter. The members of Asparagus cherish the values of respect, sharing and conviviality.
The "Positive Energy Families" challenge
In 2015 and 2016, Asparagus-Empreinte Nature is carrying out a program of awareness raising in energy conservation and the issue of climate change: the "Positive Energy Families" challenge. Backed by the French environment agency and energy conservation agency (ADEME - l'Agence de l'environnement et de la maîtrise de l'énergie) since 2008, this annual nationwide operation accompanies volunteer households in cutting their energy consumption. 7500 families have already been mobilized in 2014, enabling them to cut their electricity and heating bills by an average of 8%.
Consuming less to combat climate change
In Argenteuil, this innovative project fits in with the commitments of Asparagus on environmental issues. Upstream of COP21 (21st UN conference on climate in Paris, December 2015), it enables the nonprofit to educate the citizens on the challenges of climate change. To do this, Asparagus relies on l'Espace Info Énergie of the Val-d'Oise agency of the Paris-Hauts de Seine-Val d'Oise Pact and on the nonprofit Prioriterre, which initiated the "Positive Energy Families" challenge. Asparagus also plans to advise and enlist nonprofits in the neighboring areas to spread the word.
Families counseled over six months
The program is organized into several phases, from recruiting the families to the final evaluation of the operation. The families concerned are assembled in a friendly setting and in time slots adapted to their availability: evening, weekend. Many meetings are held to recruit the maximum possible number of families and to enable the overwhelming majority of them to conduct the operation to completion. Together with the volunteer families, the nonprofit draws up a six-month schedule after having identified the stress points of their energy consumption by means of inspections, measurements (using watt meters), regular phone contacts, collective events in the form of coffee meetings, drafting reports, compiling photo albums, etc. "Captains" are trained in each neighborhood: these volunteers form the link with the families via appropriate communication media. The results are finally analyzed and a precise report prepared in order to repeat the operation according to a proven strategy, usable by the municipality as part of its territorial energy climate plan (PCET - Plan climat énergie territorial).
The families of Argenteuil set themselves an energy challenge
The Veolia Foundation is joining the project alongside the local communities and ADEME, in order to finance the communication and measurement tools, and the organization of the events.