Unveiling the Handbook: navigating Positive Energy Neighbourhoods through oPEN Living Lab Insights

Sep 12, 2023

The oPEN Lab Capacity Building Handbook and Mentoring Report serves as a comprehensive guide, outlining the process of establishing and executing Positive Energy Neighbourhoods (PENs) using a Living Lab approach. PENs play a pivotal role in driving transformative change for the decarbonisation of the European building stock, employing an integrated and participatory methodology to leverage innovative energy systems.

Within the framework of the oPEN Lab project, three cities Genk (Belgium), Tartu (Estonia), and Pamplona (Spain) – have been extensively engaged in creating their Living Labs and establishing PENs. This handbook summarises the methodology and key outcomes of applying Living Lab methodology concepts and tools in these three oPEN Living Labs from September 2021 to March 2023.

The intended audience for this Handbook includes:

  • Existing oPEN Living Labs: As a reference document summarising their journey of setting up a Living Lab and applying its principles working on the PENs. It may also be helpful to move forward according to the lessons learned and recommendations, as well as to facilitate the onboarding process for new consortium members.
  • New Living Labs: As a methodological support with multiple examples from existing Living Labs and tools for co-design, that could be useful for their future set up and managing their Living Labs.
  • Other Projects: Relevant for initiatives focused on PEN development or energy retrofit projects, such as ARV, Atelier, Metabuildings Lab, LIFE Beckon, Energiesprong, SWEET Lantern, 2ISECAP and similar endeavours.
  • Other Organisations: Valuable for those interested in establishing a Living Lab or adopting participative methods and tools for PEN development. The handbook can be adapted to different domains, serving as a practical guide on Living Lab methodologies and applications.

The handbook provides insights into Living Labs, their setup, co-creation and co-design processes, stakeholder ecosystem management, governance, and business models. It draws from examples within the oPEN Lab project and Living Labs across Europe, while also offering templates for tools and methods used during the setup phase.

The accompanying mentoring report focuses on the mentoring requirements of the oPEN Living Labs, including aspects like integrating industrial partners and facilitating open data sharing within an innovation-driven environment.

While the oPEN Living Labs encounter challenges and risks during their journey to develop PENs, their participatory approach, methods, tools, and lessons learned have contributed to a promising beginning for the oPEN Lab project. The handbook is designed to be a valuable resource and can be found here.

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