Ukrainian home-owners have limited access to resources and services, which they need to improve the energy efficiency of their residential buildings. The physical condition of old multi-apartment buildings, obsolete supply systems and inefficient, outdated technologies are the main causes of energy inefficiency and one of the key issues in the residential housing sector.
According to the World Bank, the services market in the housing sector in Ukraine is not open for fair competition, which leads to inefficient operation of, and high prices for utility services. At the same time, access to financial resources and quality consulting services for co-owners of multi-apartment buildings is also limited. Moreover, support and technical assistance offered by international organizations, including UNDP, cannot easily reach their potential beneficiaries, as there are no direct channels or platforms for communication.
How platform-way-of-working will tackle the issue/challenge?
The HOUSES (Homeowners of Ukraine for Sustainable Energy Efficiency Solutions) platform is a multi-functional online collaboration platform for the interaction of various actors in Ukraine’s residential housing sector with the purpose of creating a transparent, easily accessible online market of resources and services available to Ukrainian homeowners to improve energy efficiency.
The partners, collaborators and consumers in this initiative are connected through a platform, where ideas, experience, and know-how can be shared. The purpose of the platform is to be able to develop bigger initiatives that benefit a broader range of stakeholders and secure more energy efficiency for the whole country.
Difference between project based approach and platform approach applied?
The conventional way of approaching the aforementioned issues is to initiate a relatively narrow project of subsidizing specific areas of improvements. By establishing this open marketplace, which can match homeowners with service provides, the UNDP builds an opportunity to increase the number of micro projects for improved energy efficiency and follow them through development and implementation. These micro projects can initiate bigger and more efficient projects that will decrease prices and improve the quality of services as a result of transparent, fair, and more intensive competition.
What is difficult?
Understanding, designing, and managing an ecosystem of hundreds of actors that bring with them all sorts of agendas and expectations calls for knowledge and experience with platforms and the platform-way-of-working.
When you have managed to wrap your head around the fact that taking a platform approach is more about facilitating connections and inspiring actions across the ecosystem instead of initiating all these actions yourself. Then follows a number of questions about how to actually manage this facilitation, ie. motivating stakeholders and creating a framework that allows and encourages themto motivate each other. The team behind this platform experienced these challenges first hand.
Status and next steps
The prototype of the platform has already been developed and tested. The next step is to develop a sustainable business model, which enables the platform to continue outside of the UNDP. Ideas for creating a startup to further develop and run the platform are on the table, among other options.