The Netherlands transition away from Natural Gas!

The Netherlands has committed to discontinuing natural gas use by 2050. This requires the cooperation of millions of households; in The Netherlands 7.9 million households use 10 billion m3 (bcm) of natural gas. To address this major challenge, the project ENRGISED plans to develop an intervention strategy in which citizens mobilize each other and help make alternatives acceptable. The strategy follows three phases: (1) identify, (2) activate and (3) accelerate.

Phase 1: Identification

In this phase, specific households (nodes) in a social network are identified whose actions may influence others to act too, i.e., the seed nodes.

Phase 2: Activation

In the second phase, households are activated to move away from natural gas use and adopt a renewable energy source. In this phase, we will use action research and design for behaviour change methods.

Phase 3: Acceleration

In phase 3 we will work from the concept of social contagion, a chain reaction of influence: subsequent decisions by neighbours will accelerate a network-wide transition.


ENRGISED project is a collaboration between the Delft University of Technology (TUDelft) and the University of Utrecht (UU). The project will investigate the social contagion of decision-making for renewable energy. Or in other words, how people are influenced by others in their networks to switch to renewable energy sources.

The project aims to support the national transition away from natural gas use, by co-creating an intervention strategy with key stakeholders that can be used by municipalities to mobilize households. The idea is to make these alternatives more acceptable, more within reach, and more accessible from a household perspective. From the concept of social contagion, we will look then at how one can mobilize another and promote change through a social network-driven process (for more information, please play the project video below).

Read more about ENRGISED

Phase 1: Identification

We will identify households characteristics needed to understand where to start activating people. We will use qualitative user research and context mapping to understand Motivation, Opportunity and Ability of people. Second, we will determine the influence networks, adoption thresholds and determination of whose actions may influence others to act, i.e., the seed nodes.

Phase 2: Activate

We will study how to activate the seed households to adopt alternative sustainable energy sources, using behaviour change models and participatory design. We aim to develop tools for behaviour change that can subsequently influence others, or make use of social networks. In this we do not focus on individuals only but on tools for networks of people.

Phase 3: Accelerate

We will study how to accelerate social contagion through the use of transition design methods to develop tools. We will test whether social contagion led to a chain reaction of subsequent decisions by influenceable neighbours and the acceleration of a network-wide transition