The Netherlands has not yet been completed. Our landscape is constantly changing. But with the energy transition, changes will also have an impact on areas that have long seemed to be finished. Existing neighborhoods will have to become fossil-free and that is not an easy task. The Climate agreement speaks of making 1.5 million homes and other buildings more sustainable in the period towards 2030. And that via a neighborhood-oriented approach. Without a neighborhood-oriented approach, residents will miss the collective opportunities. And that might turn out to be more expensive for everyone.
We can achieve more collectively than individually. The Dutch -as dyke builders- know that like no other. And Dutch people are still known for their ability to collaborate. “Poldering” has become an internationally used word.
There are plenty of advantages of a collective approach in the neighborhood: collective heat sources, collective energy generation, distribution and storage, collective approach to energy-limiting measures and not to mention a regulation of the peak capacities.
Peaks and valleys
The latter might not be one that is often heard. But this is important because peak loads of energy networks determine their capacity and therefore also the level of the costs. If you only look at homes in the neighborhood, then you will see that the energy demand over the week runs parallel with the moments when residents are home. For schools and, for example, office buildings, this is just the opposite, i.e. if the residents have left their home. These large consumers fill the low tides of energy demand of the homes with their energy demand. In addition they very much contribute to a feasible heat grid.
Contribute to support
It is therefore highly advisable to include the utilitarian buildings in the neighborhood with the neighborhood-oriented approach. TheEarlybirds do that with their NEST model, whereby the future energy demand can be accurately calculated. This energy demand is included in the COLONY model that does the same, but at a higher level of abstraction and for the entire neighborhood. It leads to insights into collective demand, collective opportunities, affordability for residents and thus offers a contribution to collective support. And perhaps the latter is the most important thing for the transition to fossil-free neighborhoods.