The Sustainable Home: providing insights into various possibilities
Much is written about the desired sustainability steps in our home or business space. Many owners are already doing well individually; others tackle the actions collectively. But apart from the approach, insights are first needed into the possibilities and the cost consequences. But where do we get the information from? And which sources of information can we trust?
This article focuses on the situation in The Netherlands, but the experiences can obviously be applied elsewhere.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can we do now, and what later? After all, the ultimate heat supply must also fit into the local/municipal development plans. The last thing any individual homeowner wants to do is invest uselessly. For example: will the natural gas network continue to exist and will we eventually switch to green gas and/or hydrogen? Or is the heating of our building completely realised without the use of natural gas and/or sustainable gases, and what are those options? What about the connection to a nearby heat network? Can we already install a hybrid heat pump, because the savings in natural gas consumption and the resulting cost reductions are already such that a good and affordable sustainability step can be taken, regardless of what the future local/municipal situation will be?
And then there are the questions about the degree of technological development (is the device well developed and will it not cause unnecessary malfunctions) and the associated costs. The positive development of solar panels over the past 20 years shows an enormous improvement in performance and reliability and cost reductions.
Municipal Plans in the Netherlands
The municipal plans will be formulated in a so-called Local Energy Strategy (LES), which will have a close relationship with the Regional Energy Strategy (RES). So it is important to request this information via the relevant municipal website. This gives an idea of the plans for the next 10-20 years. However, regardless of these municipal visions, it always pays to start implementing energy-saving measures as soon as possible (e.g. apply insulation where possible, but consider good ventilation; HR++ glass or better; energy-efficient household appliances). Furthermore, it is always smart to install solar panels where possible.
In this context, we would therefore like to refer to “Zonatlas.nl” and “Warmtepompplein.nl” respectively, which currently makes certain information freely available to individual house/building owners in The Netherlands. Please note: Zonatlas.nl = Solar energy information platform. Warmtepompplein.nl = Information portal on heat pumps.
Solar energy – information via Zonatlas.nl
Via Zonatlas, an individual homeowner or company in The Netherlands can easily see for themselves what the electricity generation potential of the property is by means of solar panels. Re. link: https://www.zonatlas.nl/start/
- Note: Zonatlas has calculated and mapped the suitability of almost all roofs in the Netherlands. By using, among other things, height data, multi-year weather data, and intensity calculation of solar radiation, the inclination angle(s), orientation points relative to the sun, shadow areas and even more technical data are combined to calculate the solar energy yield of a roof. And accurate to 30cm! Zonatlas has mapped out the solar energy yield of more than 13 million buildings in the Netherlands.
Furthermore, Zonatlas offers additional information if the Dutch municipality, to which the specified postcode with house number belongs, has a membership on Zonatlas. We will give 2 examples in this regard. (1) On the Zonatlas-website one can ‘turn on’ a home battery and see what the effects are. We have already pointed out the importance of home or neighbourhood batteries in separate blogs. Re. link: https://www.aarten-es.com/language/en/news-storage/. The battery developments will be much needed to accelerate the transition in an effective and affordable way. (2) One can also examine the effects of heat generation, of the energy generated by solar collectors/solar boiler.
Another development, available on request, focuses on providing insight into the effects of connecting an electric car to the home solar panel system.
Heat supply – information via Warmtepompplein.nl
With Warmtepompplein.nl, an individual homeowner or company in The Netherlands can discover which heat pump fits best. Re. link: https://warmtepompplein.nl/quickscan/. By entering postal code and house number, one will receive advice for an all-electric and hybrid air-water heat pump. Note. This tool is based on the formulas described in ISSO 51 (Standard Heat Loss Calculation). A heat pump does require electricity, which in turn can be partially or fully compensated by installing (extra) solar panels. Therefore, the link with Zonatlas is important.
Providing more insights through an integrated/holistic approach
The writer of this blog has permission to state here that ‘behind the scenes of Zonatlas and Warmtepompplein’, significant work is being done to link the various sustainability components together in a smart way, so good insights into the sustainability options of one’s own building can be obtained in a simple and effective manner. However, the available tools already provide a good insight!