I attended the YCL immersion to Berlin and Bonn in August 2019 and it was one of the greatest experiences in my life. One part of this immersion, the part I was most nervous about, was the group project. There were four groups with the topics Food & Agriculture, Urban Planning, Urban Mobility and Energy and within these groups we developed a project related to our topic.
I was in the energy group and although it wasn't my first choice it was a great experience working in a field I wasn't very familiar with. I could learn a lot from my group members, who were from four different continents, and I am very pleased with our result. As in most of the other groups, the problem framing which was the first of four steps to develop our project was the most difficult one. We struggled quite a lot and it took up a lot of time to flash out a problem in the field of energy that we wanted to work on.
Another challenge in the beginning was that we didn't know each other which made it even more difficult to come up with a problem we all agreed on. Eventually we came up with the problem of split incentives between tenants and landlords and focused on tenants that wanted to implement renewable energy sources and energy efficiency measures in their home. The core problem was that these tenants often do not have the ability to implement these measures because they do not own the building they are living in and therefore can't just put solar panels on the roof.
To tackle this problem we came up with a green energy building guide for tenants in the form of a website that we created. In this guide, we give information about different technological solutions that can be implemented, from sustainable insulation materials over different kinds of solar panels to heating and AC solutions. Another part of the website is the Communication Guide. This guide has the purpose to help the tenant communicate and negotiate with the landlord, so sustainable solutions can be found that benefit both parties. We also added a segment about building codes to give information about legal regulations and a contact form, so users can give us feedback to improve the project.
Brainstorming, flashing out ideas, changing them again, coming up with the idea of this guide, and eventually creating this website was challenging from time to time but overall it was a lot of fun. For me it was a new way of working and I didn´t just learn about energy and climate change but also about working in groups, developing own projects and presenting them in front of a jury.
This whole experience including the group project, but also all the great visits to different organisations and companies and especially the time spent with the other participants was a great success for me and I would recommend it to everybody who is thinking of starting a career in climate!