This project used the insights gleaned from CRCLCL Program 3 social research projects, particularly RP3029, to develop a web-based platform to support a transition to a low carbon and energy efficient residential housing sector. The platform provides a mechanism for renovators to socialise, discuss their renovations, communicate with trades and manage their renovation projects adopting renovation options in the process that minimises the environmental impact and carbon emissions of the house.
The project aimed to deliver a real outcome for consumers using CRCLCL research to inform project development at all stages. In building this website this project, RP3029e1 sought to do many things:
To provide sustainability information direct to consumers, when, where and how it was needed during the renovation process.
To deliver a public policy outcome (lower carbon housing) by creating a viable business which could operate without ongoing Government funding.
To enable people to engage socially, via the web and in person, to harness the power of peer-to-peer and professional networks in support of low-carbon housing.
To achieve these aims the project participants used lean start-up methodologies, survey and focus group research, agile software development practises and aimed to learn fast and adapt quickly when necessary. From beginning to end the project shifted its focus and project output was altered in response to end-user feedback. The final project output has evolved into more of a planning and project management platform than a social media platform – albeit with a strong social component. The platform has tested well with its target market and the project participants are working with a prospective licensee of the technology to see it launched as a commercial website.
Project RP3029e1 has delivered a minimum viable product website, capable of being licenced to a commercial operator, which could support the delivery of carbon savings. The project participants will actively seek a third-party licensee to realise these benefits after the conclusion of the project.
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Research undertaken by the Cooperative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (CRCLCL) has shown that current ‘top down’ education approaches aimed at changing consumer behaviours to adopt sustainable housing options (including concepts like net zero energy homes) have been largely ineffective.
The Build4Life project represents an innovative approach to Government policy that involved taking a policy challenge aimed at getting households to renovate their homes more sustainably, applying the latest insights from the social sciences and the application of a lean start-up methodology to create a viable self-sufficient business entity aimed at guiding people to consider sustainable housi