Voisins d’énergie (2021-2023)

A living lab to boost the resilience capacity of the energy communities in the city of Brussels


The ‘energy saving’ policies implemented over the past 40 years have shown their limits. In particular, because there is a close link between energy consumption and GDP. The dominant approach to the energy question is a technical-economic base, settled on individual consumers who must be convinced to buy more ‘efficient’ equipment and who must ‘be educated’, so in that way, they will change their ‘behavior’. In Voisins d’énergie, we take the problem from the other end: the constitution of energy communities that organize themselves collectively to produce their energy, self-consume it, and reduce it. 

Thus, we are banking on the development of collective management of the common good that is energy, of which the energy communities are a possible way. Collective discussions around energy are the most direct way to transform the social norms that are the basis of energy consumption. It is about reversing the logic of the energy system in which until now, demand drives supply and learning to adapt social practices to available energy. From this perspective, energy communities are a possible way of this essential transformation of society towards greater resilience.


The initial objective of the project was to constitute a network of energy communities in the Brussels Region, that would act as a resource center to welcome new communities and which would be sustainable after the end of the project. The ideal end situation we envision is a territory covered with ‘energy communities’. While this goal has faded as we understand the complexity of forming energy communities, it remains a critical horizon for us. On the other hand, we have kept the idea of actively contributing to transforming the energy landscape of the Brussels region through the sharing of learning and exchanges between citizens.


  1. Discussion workshops (explorers’ meetings) to define transversal experiments. Imagine an experiment that would be meta / transversal or similar experiments carried out in parallel.
  2. Experiment with an energy community without meters, because meters (simple or “smarts”) can represent a difficulty for people in economic precariousness, and some explorers refuse the installation of smarts meters from the distribution network manager.
  3. Experiment with an energy community where costs are collectivized in a united manner and individual bills abandoned. Steps: (1) measure the consumption in the various dwellings of the Energy Community, (2) constitute a common pot and take the measurements at the level of the low voltage cabin, (3) design collective invoicing according to a distribution key to be co-created by the inhabitants (consumption history, economic levels, the energy performance of buildings, etc.).
  4. School, training, apprenticeship, and their role in social cohesion.

If you want to know more about this project, please click here