Reducing CO2 emissions and saving energy in the existing buildings

The aim of this key project within Utrecht 2040 is to make existing homes energy-neutral. In other words, to ensure that the meter reading is zero, creating zero energy homes. Utrecht has ambitious goals when it comes to reducing CO2 emissions and saving energy in existing buildings. There is a lot going on in our region in this field and some major programmes are being carried out, such as Blok voor Blok (‘Block by Block’) and Meer met Minder (‘More with Less’). However, these initiatives have taught us that private homeowners can be difficult to reach. So HU University of Applied Sciences is working with a number of companies to develop products for private homeowners who want to make their home energy-neutral.

duurzame monumenten

Goal and approach

In the rental sector, housing corporations and market parties are already working hard on zero-energy housing – housing with no energy costs. Platform31’s Energiesprong (‘Energy Leap’) programme is supporting this work. However, private homeowners would like zero-energy homes, too. To realize this ambition, they need access to the right products on the market. An energy-neutral home with ‘zero’ energy costs has been technically feasible for quite some time, and it is financially feasible too. The first prototypes are already here. Pilot schemes have been set up at the neighbourhood level and a help point for private homeowners has also been opened, where they can arrange everything (‘One Stop Shop’).

HU University of Applied Sciences is also in consultation with banks such as ABN Amro not only to finance new homes, but also to offer additional mortgage facilities for owners who want to carry out zero-energy home renovations. Such renovations can lead to an enormous increase in the value of homes. The fact that there is a market for this was demonstrated by the huge response to the national Energiesprong campaign, which began in January 2014. Within two weeks, over 1250 requests had been received from private homeowners for ‘zero-energy’ homes, the majority from the Utrecht region.

As well as the technical aspects, identity is important. Lifestyle and comfort are priorities for residents. They are often less interested in whether their home is more sustainable. So we have to take the demand as our starting point and begin with the question: why would my client want such a house?

Results

The project for reducing CO2 emissions and saving energy in existing buildings is now focusing on scaling up the existing initiatives. Since private homeowners have proven difficult to reach, the second result of this project has been to develop a range of products for the private market at the regional level. Through cooperation within the supply chain for the construction sector, and the development of a manufacturing-style approach, it will be possible to apply the zero-energy concept on a larger scale, so that much larger numbers of private homes can become energy-neutral.  One means of achieving this goal is through the use of one-stop shops at the neighbourhood level where private homeowners can arrange everything relating to the renovation of their home.

Financing

HU University of Applied Sciences; Economic Board Utrecht; Utrecht Sustainability Institute; Province of Utrecht; City of Utrecht; partners from the business community including the construction company BJW and Solease.

Duration of the case study

2013-2018.

Partner institutions

HU University of Applied Sciences; Economic Board Utrecht; Utrecht Sustainability Institute; Province of Utrecht; City of Utrecht; partners from the business community including the construction company BJW and Solease.

New Energy in the City

New Energy in the City

About the Research Group

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