Meet the Partners: The Municipality of Noordenveld

09 July 2020 - Published by Deirdre Buist 2
Next in our line-up of introductions to the Stronghouse partners is the Municipality of Noordenveld. In this predominantly rural area, in the northern Dutch province of Drenthe, sustainability is a core value of the local authority and they have set a target to be climate neutral by 2040. That’s quite ambitious! But the energy transition cannot be done without the people and real change must come from bottom-up.

Fortunately, more and more citizens are embracing the green deal. and are willing to invest in energy saving and alternative energy measures in their homes.

Together with the Energy Cooperation (Energiecooperatie Noordseveld), a citizen-based energy collaboration, the Municipality is working on Energetic Neighbourhoods (Energieke Buurten) – a  neighbourhood approach to pooling renewable energy sources.

Citizen involvement

Noordenveld is very eager to learn and exchange experiences with the other partners in Stronghouse and further develop the neighbourhood approach. At the same time, their experience with energy transition in a rural area is an absolute asset for other partners in our consortium. At Noordenveld it’s all about the end user and citizen involvement.

Personas

While there is much talk, it remains a challenge to actually engage citizens in the transition. To this end, the partners from Noordenveld and the Province of Drenthe have recently been working closely on creating ‘personas’ for their Stronghouse pilots. Personas are a powerful design tool and a very useful aid when considering the varying motivations of citizens to invest in the the sustainability of their living environment. The ability to empathize with the different end-user rationales is key to successful engagement.

Neighbourhood approach

When it comes to stimulating sustainable energy measures in the home, the villages of Norg and Roderwolde have unique experience with the community approach. Both have their own characteristics and specific retrofitting challenges. Roderwolde has a great diversity in housing stock, mostly of significant size and dating from the mid 19th century to the present day. In Norg the neighbourhood of Norg-West is typical of the 1970s and ‘80s and quite uniform in style, which means house-profiling is the most obvious approach to energy renovation.

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A characteristic house in Roderwolde

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The Norg-West neighbourhood in Norg

Future proof

But there’s more. Both villages have a proven commitment to becoming sustainable future-proof communities in the broadest sense. They're tackling more issues in the public domain, including climate adaptation measures in the water infrastructure to combat local flooding and the  connection of rural areas to the national fibre-optic network. After the summer the Energetic Neighbourhoods project will expand to include another locality, Kortland in the village of Peize.  Here, a group of ‘energy ambassadors’ - all volunteers – are keen to get started!

Energetic communities

By creating new, enabling instruments such as loan schemes for individual homeowners, and using energy advisors to engage, inform and guide its citizens, the Municipality of Noordenveld will build on the existing sense of cohesion to develop even stronger, energetic communities. This is a concept that fits perfectly with the Stronghouse goals.

Dutch readers can find more about the Energiecoöperatie Noordseveld  at: http://www.noordseveld.nl/

 

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 Engaging the community in Noordenveld

 

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