Topic Resources

Tools Used
Initiated By
  • Prioriterre
  • 12-13% reduction in energy and water consumption, with total saving of 8,500,000 kWh in one year. 
  • €200 annual saving per participating family unit.


Familles à énergie positive

France's multi-year "Familles à énergie positive" program uses peer support groups (eco-teams) to reduce residential energy and water consumption. During the 2014/2015 period, participants reported an average 12% reduction in energy consumption, saving 8,500,000 kWh overall. Between 2008 and 2016 it engaged 90,000 individuals in 36,908 participating households.


Note: To minimize site maintenance costs, all case studies on this site are written in the past tense, even if they are ongoing as is the case with this particular program.

Familles à énergie positive was a nation-wide scheme in France that was funded in-part by various levels of government and implemented in partnership with municipal and civil society stakeholders. It was created and coordinated by Prioriterre, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping citizens reduce their environmental footprints.

While earlier versions of the program date back to 2003, this nomination concerns the challenge program that started in the Haute-Savoie department of France during the winter of 2008/2009. By 2015/2016, 11 regions, 81 departments, 2400 towns, 170 animators, 30,000 households and 90,000 individuals had been engaged.

Delivering the Program

The program encouraged a range of everyday energy conservation behaviours at the household level. These included, for example, behaviors related to the purchase and use of insulation, ventilation, heating & cooling systems, hot water systems, and equipment (TV, Hi-Fi, washing machine, lighting, cooking etc.).

The program was based on the development of eco-teams, each consisting of 5-10 people. Team members could be neighbors, colleagues or friends. Individual registrants could enter their postal codes on line to find and join the teams closest to them. Each team commited to reduce household energy and water consumption by at least 8%, especially during winter periods. Team members could use a guidebook to choose from up to 100 suggested behaviors for saving energy and water at home. Participants could also borrow a small and easy-to-use watt meter for finding energy hog equipment in their homes. (Goal-Setting; Norms; Obtaining a Commitment; Peer Support Groups; Vivid, Personalized, Credible, Empowering Communication) 

Each team nominated a captain, who then received training on practical energy conservation options and how to use the program website. A local organizer (“animator”) trained the captains and provided technical support as required, including direct assistance to participating families.

The program website was a key communications hub that provided energy conservation tips, tracked team energy consumption, and gave feedback on savings achieved and team rankings. Each team member reported  his or her own energy consumption data using the website.

All team members received a monthly program newsletter and were invited to three celebration events a year, where team results are announced, workshops are offered and food is provided. These events are promoted as a fun way to spend family time together, while educating children about energy conservation. (Recognition)

Each captain got an orientation document that introduced the captain role, and a weekly mailing highlighting unusual participant feedback.

Measuring Achievements

Pre-program and annual / post- program online quizzes were used to assess activity levels across the targeted behaviors. The data were self-reported. Imputed energy savings were weather-corrected.


On average, participants reduced their energy consumption by 12% and their water consumption by 13% (15 l/j/person), and saved €200 per participating family unit.

During the 2014/2015 period, the program reported:

  • 12% average reduction in participant energy consumption
  • 8,500,000 kWh saved (46 million in all since 2008)
  • 1,400 tonnes of CO2 equivalent avoided (8,000 tons in all since 2008)


This case study was wrtitten in 2017 by Jay Kassirer.

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