100 Ideas House

Communicating the issues of climate change and energy use

The 100 Ideas House won the Best Marketing for Sustainable Energy category at the World Sustainable Energy Awards in 2009.


It’s not easy promoting energy efficiency in a consumer-driven society, but that’s exactly what the 100 Ideas House set out to do.

The 100 Ideas House is a life-size kitchen and living-room installation that shows how small energy-saving measures can be fitted into a normal and aspirational modern lifestyle. It was designed to fit into a retail environment, and went on display at two Bristol shopping centres in October and November 2007.

Containing the latest products from top brands – a 42-inch Sony wall-mounted TV and a AEG dishwasher and many others – a the House is comfortable, modern and attractive. But it also incorporates 50 energy-saving measures that are within everyone’s reach and do not take detract from its contemporary and desirable style.

The project was funded by Defra’s Climate Challenge Fund which sought to explore new ways of changing the attitudes of people who tend to ignore the usual environment-oriented campaigns by the government or NGOs.

“The research we did underlined the need to find new ways to communicate climate issues and sustainability to people who don’t respond to ‘green’ messaging” said Ian Preston, project manager of the 100 Ideas House. “The normal approach has been to emphasise sacrifice and making-do, but this is a turn-off to too many people. The 100 Ideas House shows that living more sustainably does not require huge sacrifices and that people can make a difference without changing who they are.”

Stop-and-talk

When set up in the shopping malls, the installation was also an effective ‘’ mechanism. “We were able to engage with hundreds of people who would normally run a mile if approached by someone from an environmental organisation” said Ian. “They were often encouraged by the fact that we didn’t challenge their values or demand they donned a hairshirt – their usual fears when confronted by a climate-change or energy-efficiency message.”

Two things made the 100 Ideas House different. One was the targetting of a population segment regarded by environment campaigners as 'hard to reach' - namely the 'outer-directed' and consumer-orientated for whom 'normal' environmental messaging doesn't work (see downloads, right).

The other was that we would engage this group in a particular place, 'their territory' of big retail outlets.

In order to identify our audience and refine our message we worked with Chris Rose, (www.campaignstrategy.org) and Cultural Dynamics (www.cultdyn.co.uk), and through a series of exploratory exercises and focus groups the 100 Ideas House was born.

In addition to the house itself, the project featured a local media campaign, competitions, giveaways and other incentives to participate. Visitors to the House – and to the website, www.100ideashouse.com – we encouraged to add their own ideas and win an ‘energy efficiency home makeover’.

For more information about this process, follow the links top right.

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