Here’s a list of things that spring to mind when you think about the Dutch.
THAT Van Basten goal.
Quick and cost-effective housing retrofit?
Okay, so the last one might not be synonymous with the Netherlands just yet, but it might be very soon.
A Dutch organisation called Energiesprong has had some success in retrofitting almost 1,000 homes there, with plans to refurbish another 110,000 in the pipeline.
The organisation, which is Dutch for ‘energy leap’, seems to present the UK with an attractive alternative to the recently scrapped Green Deal, and even uses a similar pay-as-you-save concept.
The big difference, however, is that the houses are also made to look better, theoretically increasing the house’s value and providing a crucial extra incentive for private owner-occupiers.
These retrofits are carried out quickly, with some Dutch contractors now able to do a whole house in less than day, meaning the occupier doesn’t have to move out.
Initially, the organisation has targeted social housing stock in order to build up economies of scale and industrialise the process so that the cost comes down, and the plan is to do the same here in the UK.
There are 14 founding partners in Energiesprong UK, including contractors Willmott Dixon, Wates, Mears and Beattie Passive, all of which have put in £5,000 to get it off the ground and explore options.
The ambition and vision is there, and there’s even a suggestion that homeowners might one day be able to walk into Ikea and buy an Energiesprong solution off the shelf.
Time will tell as to whether Energiesprong is the solution to the UK’s energy-efficiency problem – or whether it will go the way of the Green Deal.
But it’s early days, and the signs so far are positive – read all about the scheme and what contractors will need to know.