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Ayent - Switzerland

Awareness-raising at citizen-level


A commune of 10 villages, Ayent became involved in sustainable energy management during the 1990s. It was first awarded the Cité de l’énergie© label in 2004. To renew this label in 2008, the community has been working tirelessly and is now putting the finishing touches on its campaign.

Its most recent major projects include the installation of transformers for low-voltage public lighting and active support in the construction of a wood-fired heating system to promote the use of biomass at the Anzère plant, financed with the support of Centime climatique. The biomass project services around 800 apartments in 16 buildings.

Ayent has pursued a global policy of awareness-raising. The community stays in close contact with its residents and has always practiced a policy of transparency in the dissemination of information about budgets, projects, etc. to the public. Of course, Display® was integrated in this approach as a tool to communicate the success of energy efficiency in community buildings in a way that everyone can understand.

Building details

The first Display® project : January 2006, the historic City Hall
Public buildings : 5
Buildings participating in Display® : 5
Of which :
  • 2 administrative buildings
  • 2 school buildings
  • 1 socio-cultural building

Project Description

Key points Ayent pursues a communication campaign to address all of its citizens :
- The press is used to raise awareness about energy issues :

  • 12 press releases have been published in the regional paper "L’AGACHE" :
  • In May of 2006, an article was published in an edition of the Swiss "Energies Renouvelables" devoted to Cités de l’énergie© ;
  • An article on Display® in Martigny and Ayent was published in a Valais paper.

    - The Display® poster informs everyone about energy efficiency in community buildings.

    - Meetings, events, and information campaigns were held.

    - Information was also spread by word-of-mouth.

_ More targeted campaigns were also undertaken :

  • primarily, the Cités de l’énergie© label was presented to executives and legislators in the community who were affected by the programme ;
  • then, in August of 2006 each household received information about the community’s incentives for investments in more efficient energy equipment. The same information was systematically presented to contractors and landlords whenever any building permits were requested. Ayent pays 37,500 euros into this budget each year (60,000 Swiss francs) ;
  • In addition, an innovative study was conducted on the efficiency of energy consumption in homes (energy audit) : the 2200 households in Ayent received a questionnaire about their energy consumption including an index (MJ/m²/an) to allow them to compare their performance with new high performing buildings ; if their values exceeded the reference by more than 15%, they were advised to consult a specialist ;
  • Finally, Ayent’s participation in the Display® campaign was presented to the Conseil d’Etat, the representatives of the Grand Conseil, and the local population during a reception held by the President of the Grand Conseil of Valais in May of 2006.
Reason for inclusion as Shining Example Ayent is a small community in the Valais region that has already launched a number of initiatives to make its energy consumption more efficient. Its campaigns have focused on awareness-raising among residents with innovative campaigns to provide incentives for people to increase energy efficiency at home.

Costs & funding

The cost items for the communication campaigns are included in the community’s current budget ; the costs for hours worked by technical staff are not included in that budget.

Partners & Roles

Partnership details Display® was launched by Ayent’s technical service. The campaign relies on : the local press ; caretakers of municipal buildings, who read meters in order to keep an eye on expenditures for water and energy and hang up posters in areas of high visibility within the buildings (soon to cover both 2005 and 2006) ; and soon school principals and teachers.


Lessons Learnt _ The goal of the Display® campaign is to improve resource consumption (energy, water, CO2 emissions) in buildings by one class, which represents about 10 to 15% in economies.
Up to now, the awareness-raising campaign has produced the following results :
- Caretakers quickly understood the problem and participated to a great extent.
- Elected officials and the general public paid attention to the efforts taken to reduce their energy consumption and change their behaviour.
- The survey on energy consumption in households revealed a great interest and led to a number of questions from the public.
- Since the community’s budget for energy conservation was created, requests for subsidies have become more frequent. Public surveys were conducted as a follow-up. Requests for buildings constructed according to the Minergie standard increased (based on financial incentives).
- The community’s image was enhanced by positive coverage and regional or specialised press reports.

_ The next step in the Display campaign concerns primary and secondary schools, where teaching materials (DVDs, panels, educational games) and the energy officer from the Lausanne school district will be involved. 20 teachers and nearly 300 pupils will take part in this campaign.

To know more

Organisation name Commune d’Ayent
Contact Pierre-Etienne Aymon

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