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Energy-efficient housing: Dutch project ‘House full of Energy’ opens doors

More and more people realise that it is smart to live in houses that are energy neutral, that is houses that actually produce as much energy that you need. Benefits: it’s comfortable, it’s climate friendly and it’s cost-efficient (it actually saves you money). In the Netherlands a project called ‘House full of energy’ (Huis vol energie) recently organised an open day during which people with energy neutral houses opened their doors to the general public. In this way anybody interested in energy neutral housing could visit energy neutral houses and meet with these homeowners.

‘House full of energy’ (Huis vol Energie Dutch website) is a community platform for private homeowners with an ambition to rebuild their house in an energy neutral way. This online platform supports a growing number of people interested in energy neutral initiatives. It is maintained for and by the so called ‘energy pioneers’ part of this community, and also organises interesting events, house visits and workshops.


Example of an energy neutral house - Piet and Mirjam living with their two children in Delft 

In 2008 Piet installed a solar collector on his roof. Realising the positive effect this had on his energy bill, he became very enthusiastic. Sparked by the results, Piet took started to take things further. In the year 2010 his house became completely energy neutral with the installation of a wood burner. Piet: ‘ if you live in a terraced house like we do, it is impossible to install 35 separate solar panels on your roof. You have to be smart and take those measures that suit your living situation. For example, we discovered that a lot of our electrical equipment was always switched on for no reason.’ Another piece of advice Piet has for people who want to save energy is to install automatic sun blinds.  Piet: ‘in summer this keeps the house cool; we always have a comfortable indoor climate because of the blinds and in winter we enjoy sitting near the wood burner in our living room.’

house 1


Enough energy to drive 36.000 km in your car 

Ronald and Napona live in a large and comfortable wooden house in the east of the Netherlands. Ronald and Napona: ’we already had the idea to build our own energy neutral house back in 1995. In 2007 we started to realise this dream. We started by looking at other projects claiming to be energy neutral. After calculating energy values it turned out that often these projects were not actually energy neutral. That’s why we aimed very high when it came to building our own house; we wanted to actually make it energy producing going beyond energy neutrality. At the end of this year we hope to buy an electric car for which we can use the energy we produce. This would mean that we will have enough energy to drive 36.000km a year!’


House 2 


No waste of fossil fuels

Ronald and Napona: ‘whatever you call it: CO2 issues, wasting fossil fuels... You can even debate whether these problems are true or not... In the end it does not matter if we have enough fossil fuels for the next 10 years or if they will last another 200 years. But one thing is certain: there will come a time when  they will truly run out. That’s for sure. We must use the non-sustainable sources of energy that are left to produce, for example, medicine, for which no sustainable solution has been found yet. However, to heat our homes and to supply our homes with energy, we do not need to use these fossil fuels any longer. A long term vision is essential.’


If your region is interested in starting up a similar project like this one and would like some advice or more information, please e-mail EMI will bring you into contact with the initiators of ‘House full of Energy’.