A lot of houses are being built in our neighbourhood. I went for a walk and I planned my route to pass the new area, to see how the building was progressing. I hadn’t done so for a couple of months and to my suprise many houses were already inhabited, others were being prepared by painters for its owners to move in within a couple of weeks. The sidewalks were mostly put in, so it wasn’t as dangerous to walk there as a few months back, when many builder vans were riding around.

Energy transition is a big theme for housing in The Netherlands. Ever since the government realised the damage being done in Groningen due to gas extraction can’t be denied any longer, we all need to plan for a gas free house (most Dutch houses are heated on gas). These newly built homes are state of the art when it comes to heating systems, insulation and solar power. That became tangible when I passed a parking lot for residents.

The entire parking space was covered with solar panels. It is a solution I wish we could create with our neighbours. At our previous home we had a carport, which was especially convenient in winter. We never had to remove ice from our car. Now, we sometimes struggle to open the doors of our old and reliable Volvo in winter when it’s freezing (its rubbers are not what they used to be). Our parking space is a bit too small to invest in such a solution though. Nevertheless it’s great to see how smart solutions are being implemented when possible.

The one thing that surprised me though is that I only saw one powering station for an electric vehicle. The amount of electric and hybrid cars being sold is rising quickly, so in my opinion it would make sense to plan ahead and install such power stations for new houses. But then again, it might not be too much of an effort to put them in later on.

My conclusion is that our house was built fifteen years too early. Local government has said that this whole neighbourhood needs to solve the gas problem individually. The owners of these new houses are the lucky ones. They don’t have gas to begin with. We probably need to invest a lot of money to install a gas free heating system in the near future.