Serious games as instrument to support energy retrofitting: Lessons from the Go2Zero City-zen game

Ellen van Bueren, Geertje Bekebrede, Ivo Wenzler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


This paper presents the serious multi-player tabletop game GO2Zero and explores how such games may contribute to overcoming barriers to local energy retrofitting. The game lets actors involved in local energy retrofitting, experience the multi-actor decision-making context. In half a day, about twenty participants play a role. Roles defined are: local authority, housing corporation, tenant, homeowner, local sustainable energy supplier, grid operator, local renewable energy supplier, or a contractor offering retrofitting measures and technologies. Within the game, participants are requested to determine their energy goals, and the strategies to be used to achieve them. In four consecutive rounds, each representing several years, participants have to decide which retrofitting investments they will make, if any. They can choose from a number of retrofitting measures, and have to get an understanding of the pros and cons of each. They are confronted with the consequences of their decisions over the years, in terms of individual and collective goal achievement, carbon reduction, security of supply (network instability), land use, and affordability.After playing the game, the participants have more insight in the different opportunities for retrofitting, the effect of different retrofitting strategies, and the dynamics of the institutionally fragmented decision-making context. The paper will report on the experiences of sessions played with local stakeholders involved in energy retrofitting in the cities of Dubrovnik, Amsterdam and Delft. The game development and sessions played have been part of the EU FP7 supported project ‘City-zen, new urban energy’. The game has been developed in collaboration with DNVGL.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference Papers of the International Refurbishment Symposium
PublisherEco Connect London
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • refurbishment
  • energy retrofitting
  • serious gaming
  • decision-making
  • governance


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