This success story is part of a series published within the MAKING-CITY project. The series aims to showcase the experiences of residents of homes that have been retrofitted as part of the project. In this story, we learn about Erwin and Yvonne and their family’s experience. Photo by Reyer Boxem.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF.
We, Erwin (49) and Yvonne (46), live with our 2 children, ages 10 and 7, in Paddepoel. Erwin is an ICT specialist and Yvonne is an independent organisational consultant.
We already tried to make our house more sustainable by installing solar panels, underfloor heating and cooking on induction. In the long run we wanted to switch to a heat pump to become energy neutral. We are aware of the consequences of burning fossil fuels. Many people are still in denial, but we are not.
“I think it’s interesting to be working on it and to be able to show others ‘Look, it’s possible!’” – Erwin
“The slogan ‘a better environment starts with you” applies here. You can wait for others to take a step, but we want our children and grandchildren to grow up in a good environment. We also do it for the generations that come after us!” – Yvonne
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU FIRST LEARN ABOUT POSITIVE ENERGY DISTRICTS?
There was a link shared in our common district WhatsApp group to the digital version of our regional newspaper with an article and an ad that said that MAKING-CITY was looking for existing houses in the neighbourhood that could be retrofitted and serve as examples. They were looking for houses in a part of our neighbourhood, PED North.
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU BECOME INVOLVED IN THE MAKING-CITY PROJECT?
After seeing the ad, we filled out the online form in June 2019. Then, we received an action plan with various scenarios to make our house more sustainable. We really appreciated getting advice on what steps to take next.
WHAT HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE LIVING IN A DEMO HOUSE BEEN LIKE?
It’s no different than before. Other than quite a number of visits from some people. We also have not experienced a winter yet, and the acoustic air heat pump was only installed in March 2022. It’s still a bit of a wait, but we think it will be fine.
It’s nice to open up our house and show neighbours that becoming energy positive is possible. On Saturday 8 October we participated in ‘Duurzame Huizendag’ (Sustainable Houses Day) and we told all visitors what we did in our house and shared our experiences.
HOW HAS THE RETROFITTING OF YOUR HOME IMPACTED YOUR LIFE?
Positively, with no negative impact on living. Especially now, with the rising energy prices.
DURING YOUR EXPERIENCE, WHAT DID YOU BENEFIT FROM THE MOST?
The advice that we were given, the options tailored to our house, and of course, the implementation.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO OTHERS CONSIDERING RETROFITTING THEIR HOMES?
That of course depends on how they live and what kind of house they live in. Our advice is take it step by step. Make it manageable!