Blog post by Matthias Ghyselen, Energent

In the realm of citizen-led and community-driven initiatives, collaboration often serves as the basis for progress. Within the framework of the OSR-Coop Project, this sentiment is particularly true. At the start of our journey mapping out the Citizen-led Renovation services of each partner involved, we anticipated mere exchanges of information and learning from one another. However, what transpired was far more enriching and transformative than we hoped for at the beginning of the project. The culmination of the activities from our work package two resulted in the creation of a comprehensive report, which we suitably named “CLR in Action”. The report details the CLR services offered by each of the energy cooperatives, partners in the project, and is categorising the One Stop Shops they operate in several archetypes. Despite the inherent disparities due to specific regulations across the different European countries, this collaborative effort proved to be very fruitful. It catalysed valuable insights and reaffirmed our collective mission as project partners.

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Each working session within the frames of the OSR-Coop Project not only validates our existing strategies but also brings us new perspectives - paving the way for continuous improvement and innovation in our work. Central to our experience of working on the OSR-Coop Project was the profound realization of the significance peer-to-peer collaboration brings. It inspired the inception of regional gatherings in Flanders where we started to assemble various cooperatives engaged in citizen-led renovation activities. It aligned with our desire to start disseminating our project learnings and engage with the local community more. What initially began as informal monthly sessions a few months ago, by now it has evolved into a formal working group under the umbrella of Rescoop.vl – The Flemish Federation of Energy Communities. This mirrors the structure at the European level, with a CLR working group operating under the's umbrella. The reciprocal nature of these meetings underlines the shared fundamental values of all participants involved. Gone are the days of isolated activities and competitiveness, especially on a local or regional level, proving that we do thrive much better in a cooperative environment. One in which best practices are shared and collaborative frameworks with other local stakeholders are explored.

The build-up of such collective synergy not only enhances our individual capacities but also amplifies our collective voice, echoing the importance of the work Energent does within the OSR-Coop Project. In the face of impending legislative changes and forthcoming elections this year across the EU, maintaining such a collaborative spirit becomes more important than ever. By consolidating our interests and leveraging collective influence, we as cooperatives stand united in influencing policies that would align with our objectives. Furthermore, our commitment to continue to seek innovative ways of doing renovations compels us to explore new avenues for replication and adaptation of any future outcomes of the OSR-Coop Project. In our Flemish CLR working group, each cooperative brings its unique strengths to the table, and by harnessing this diversity, we propel the cooperative movement forward.

In conclusion, working on the OSR-Coop Project for Energent means demonstrating and practising the transformative power of collaboration while bringing value to our local community. Aside from opening new opportunities with the renovation services offering, it highlights the importance of fostering peer-to-peer networks actively engaging in knowledge-sharing. As we continue on our journey, we invite you to:

- Follow Energent's and the OSR-Coop Project’s work for new updates

- If you are in a cooperative, consider joining and its CLR working group

- Explore opportunities to connect with peers within your own country or region

We keep on working and collaborating to make our homes more comfortable and energy efficient, and our future better and more sustainable for all.