Energy neutral homes: sustainable from the inside, attractive from the outside

01 April 2020 - Published by Ulla-Britt Krämer

In 2050, 22 million homes must be made energy neutral in the Nort Sea Region. This is necessary to achieve the climate targets of Paris and the Green Deal of the European Union. In addition to the sustainability efforts, this also offers opportunities for an aesthetic metamorphosis. The sight of monotonous social houses will show more variety in the coming years.

Boring uniformity
The energy transition requires a huge effort from all parties involved: municipalities, provinces, housing associations and homeowners. The Interreg NSR (North Sea Region) project INDU-ZERO contributes to these efforts. The project is developing a design for an innovative factory that can produce affordable renovation packages for existing homes in mass production. With the renovation packages, homes in the countries participating in the project can be preserved by putting some kind of insulating coat over them. The prefabricated renovation packages will be used for post-war neighborhoods built between 1955 and 1985. These are often uniform houses with little variety and architectural beauty. “It’s a lot of boring uniformity”, according to Lianda Sjerps-Koomen, manager of business development at RC Panels (Netherlands), one of the partners in the INDU-ZERO project.

More attractive and varied streetscape
Prefabricated renovation packages offer more possibilities for variety due to their industrial design. Sjerps:”Façades can be coated with stone strips, decorative plaster and combinations of the two. And the stone strips can be laid by robots in different patterns, colours and masonry.” In addition, there are possibilities for a wooden finish which is common in Norway and Sweden. This is a way to get residents excited about the energy transition. A beautiful new façade will certainly play a role in the considerations whether to participate in the energy transition. Who doesn’t want their house to look nicer? Neighborhoods are going to look more attractive and varied in the years to come.

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