How much space will be needed for sustainable electricity generation? How much can we reduce energy use? And how will the changes involved affect our homes, cities and landscapes? The new book Energy and Space: A Dutch Perspective sets out some possible answers. It makes clear the choices facing us and what the spatial consequences of those choices will be.
The book is the product of a collaboration between parties who have been working in this area for some time: Dirk Sijmons, FABRICations, H+N+S Landscape Architects, Studio Marco Vermeulen, NRGlab/Wageningen University, Vereniging Deltametropool and Posad.
Cutting energy use for fewer wind turbines
In this book, Posad looks at the enormous challenge of reducing electricity consumption. Lowering energy use is by far the most effective method of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, every KWh saved eliminates the need to generate three. “To put it bluntly, there are things neighbourhoods can do to reduce the need for wind turbines in their backyards,” Boris says with a wink.
Making homes more sustainable
Experts estimate that improving the sustainability of the existing housing stock will cut back energy use by 30%. Posad has found that residential properties built between 1945 and 1990 are particularly suited for adaptation to meet the requirements of sustainability label A, but property owners would have to invest between €20,000 and €80,000 per home. Nationally, the cost would reach between €100 and €150 billion.
The spatial effects of saving energy
Making a home more sustainable has spatial effects. Adding exterior insulation impairs a building’s attractiveness, and adding interior insulation comes at the expense of living space. All in all, most people probably aren’t eager to insulate their homes.
Making offices more sustainable
It is strange, Boris argues, that requirements for non-residential construction are less strict even as these buildings stand to generate substantial profit. Businesses can improve their buildings’ insulation, reduce energy consumption, and reorganise lighting and heating systems. “Of course, that will cost money, leading to more expensive products and services,” Boris says. “But we would bear those costs together as a country, as opposed to one homeowner having to make a much greater investment in sustainability than another.”
Interested in knowing more? Read a summary of the book in Blauwe Kamer #3 or order it from naibooksellers. https://www.naibooksellers.nl.