Annual Expedition for Energy-Neutral Living in Drenthe

14 June 2021 - Published by Deirdre Buist
In just 20 years the current fossil energy consumption will be history. The Dutch Province of Drenthe, together with its stakeholders, is aiming for one joint goal and that is energy-neutral living in the region by 2040. To this end they have designed the Energy Expedition - a collaborative network of housing corporations, local authorities, interest groups and businesses – to support citizens on their energy transition journey. The expedition is a journey of investigation and discovery. A joint adventure. In May the Annual Energy Expedition Day (a large-scale event for all parties involved) took place. This year online.


Connecting stakeholders

Stronghouse colleague and expedition guide for the Province of Drenthe, Ugo Leever tells more: “The Expedition for Energy-Neutral Living (Expeditie Energieneutral Wonen) is an organized network, currently with 114 partners. As regional authority our role is to ensure that the participants, the energy transition stakeholders, stay connected and to stimulate new co-operations. We also contribute to various funds so that the businesses involved can offer those citizens considering energy renovation more financially accessible solutions.


Ugo Leever, Energy Policy Advisor at the Province of Drenthe & Stronghouse partner

Innovative & interactive virtual event

“With physical meetings still not possible, it can be challenging to keep such a network going, but our latest gathering was surprisingly successful, innovative and interactive. Almost 100 of the 114 partners joined online, proof that the Energy Expedition in Drenthe is very much alive and kicking. A varied programme was designed to suit the virtual setting, with separate workshops where the participating organizations could present to each other. These interactive sessions worked really well and attracted a great mix of stakeholders: tenants and landlords, SMEs, energy cooperatives, government authorities, the Drents Energieloket (one-stop-shop). "

Ugo adds "We are also becoming increasingly adept in terms of the technological possibilities of digital working. Using split screens meant the chairman and expedition guide were in view while participants could simultaneously click on programme items and visit virtual stands at the ‘information market’. The highly active chat function was also indicative of successfully connecting and engaging people.”

Keynote on historical retrofit

Keynote speaker Suze Gehem kept a virtual grip on the audience as she told the story of how she set up ‘ De Groene Grachten’, together with the late Wubbo Ockels (red. first Dutch astronaut and ambassador for sustainable energy and climate change adaptation). Their mission was to sustainably renovate an historical canal-side residence to prove that if this was possible it could be done anywhere. Her first success was the sustainable renovation of a terrace of 6 of these centuries-old houses and she is now involved, together with her team, in many such projects with historical buildings on an international scale.

Inspiration for further exchange

This inspiring presentation has also triggered thoughts of potential links to the work of other Stronghouse partners  -RGU in Scotland, for example - and their research into the energy renovation of historical and monumental buildings. Plans are in the make for further transnational exchange on this subject.

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