Dutch Surfers on the Renovation Wave - National Energy Retrofit Event

25 August 2021 - Published by Deirdre Buist
In their endeavours to speed up the energy renovation of houses, Stronghouse contributes to the efforts of the European Commission and the Renovation Wave, as introduced in 2020. In order to increase an understanding of this European strategy for the acceleration of sustainable retrofitting, and to develop new support coalitions in the Netherlands, Stronghouse Lead Beneficiary Province of Drenthe and partners are organizing a Dutch Renovation Wave Event on September 9th from 10:00 till 13:00 CET.

For this event the Stronghouse partnership and the Province of Drenthe are collaborating with INDU-ZERO, another Interreg NSR project, its Lead Beneficiary Province of Overijssel and with Duurzaam Gebouwd – a knowledge platform for sustainability in the building and property sector. Together they have invited a strong line-up of experts to share experiences and offer some potential solutions.

The European Perspective

In October 2020 the European Commission introduced the Renovation Wave to speed up the process of retrofitting houses and buildings to a substantial standard of sustainability. Goal is to double the annual amount of renovations so that at least 35 million buildings have reduced energy consumption by 2030. In order to surf this Renovation Wave successfully, we need to create more momentum - that is a challenge. What solutions and insights can help us accelerate and how can we build coalitions to jointly encourage citizens, homeowners and businesses to get on board?

The Stronghouse contribution

Stronghouse Project Coordinator Hein Braaksma is one of the speakers at the Dutch Renovation Wave Event. While discussing the day’s programme and the role of Stronghouse, he shares some insights and lessons learned during the course of the project. “Europe is asking a lot from individual homeowners in terms of sustainability, lowering energy consumption and radically reducing their carbon footprint. It’s not strange that people are struggling with the challenges involved, particularly as the current measures and support structures don’t adequately match their needs, wishes and possibilities.

Technical challenges, loan possibilities, calculating how much energy savings are attainable and with which measures, weighing up the value of investments. There’s a lot to consider. Choices are also heavily influenced by the homeowner’s personal situation and life phase; young couples, families with children and retired people have different perspectives. We also see that people can be prompted by their neighbours – if one ‘goes for it’ it’s easier to get people to follow their example.”


Stronghouse speakers at the Dutch Renovation Wave Event: Hein Braaksma, Project Coordinator; Peter Rathje, Project Zero; Ugo Leever, Provincie Drenthe and Jannetje Kolijn, SWO DE Wolden-Hoogeveen.

Success starts with insight

For Stronghouse the success of the Renovation Wave starts with insight into what homeowners want and need. Within Stronghouse we focus on changing things with small interventions and organizing existing supports more logically. We’re streamlining more by looking at digital developments, using ‘personas’ or characters to gauge the needs and frustrations of the end-user. Using these personas, we can then imagine their Customer Journey and the potential retrofitting hurdles faced.  From their initial expression of interest, through the renovation process to, perhaps, becoming an energy-renovation ambassador in the neighbourhood. We want to re-align existing tools with the various phases of the Customer Journey and gain more insight into what is missing.”

Stronghouse and INDU-ZERO

So, what has Stronghouse got in common with co-organizers INDU-ZERO, apart from their Interreg NSR connection? “Our project is complementary to the INDU-ZERO project,” Hein explains. That project mainly targets housing corporations, focusses on large volumes, and engages with other organizations. However, we’re connected by a number of driving principals, including digitalization. Stronghouse works with various self-assessment tools, for example, so that individuals can see which retrofit options suit their personal situation best, what the investment gains can be in terms of comfort and savings, and what financing options are available. Our Belgian partners are also looking for an easier way to link all this with contractors, installation services and the European Energy Performance Certificate. By the way, Ulla-Britt Krämer, Project Leader of INDU-ZERO, will present on the sustainable industrial prefab renovation of housing from 1965-1985 during the Renovation Wave Event.”

Uniting and connecting stakeholders

The Renovation Wave Event aims to unite more stakeholders, connecting authorities, government information points, energy advisors and with the building sector. Banks also need to be involved as key players in financing energy renovations and deep retrofits.

Internationally, everyone is dealing with similar issues, although strategies differ. Danish Stronghouse partner Project Zero joins the programme on 9th September to present their approach, highlighting their facilitation of online workshops for mortgage advisors and local tech companies, for example.

Translating the bigger picture

Hein Braaksma concludes: ”We must all be aware of the bigger picture. We need the European perspective and at the same time we need to translate the climate agreements, CO2 reduction strategies and European policies into the concrete situation of individual homeowners and neighbourhoods. That’s where Stronghouse can support and facilitate – and create real renovation momentum.”

You can find out more about the Stronghouse homeowner’s perspective during Hein’s presentation at the online Renovation Wave Event on 9th September. Partners Ugo Leever from the Province of Drenthe and Peter Rathje from Project Zero also have a slot in the programme. Take a look and sign up now!

Please find a full programme and registration form here.

Read more about INDU-ZERO here