The Dutch government, both national and local, is very keen on stimulating investments in energetic upgrades. Various subsidy programs have been launched to stimulate landlords to improve the energy efficiency of their housing stock.
Building codes for new construction are strict and ambitious, energy labels have been implemented on January 2008 to raise awareness, and vast subsidy schemes are made available to finance the upfront investments in long-term energy savings around the house.
Dutch homes tend to be of high quality. An average Dutch home offers over 105 square meters of floor space, spread over four rooms. Due to the high quality standards, homes are rarely demolished, and can easily last for over 100 years.
New construction numbers are low. Less than 1% of existing stock is being added every year with new construction.
Energetic performance data of the housing stock.
Total energy consumption of private households by energy commodity.
The Dutch housing market contains over 7 million dwellings, of which around 55% are owner-occupied
The rental housing market is currently dominated by social housings, which has a market stake of over 80%. This rental market structure is, however, currently part of a large reform that is targeted at increasing the non-regulated portion of the rental housing market.
3 Energy retrofitting
Energetic retrofits are commonly undertaken in stakeholder coalitions. Social housing associations have been keen on taking the lead and involving large construction firms and (local) government subsidies.
‘Stroomversnelling’ (Highcurrents) and ‘Energysprong’ (Energyleap) are two examples in which these coalitions are stimulated using government support. In both cases, first mover advantage is being nurtured using coordinated efforts. Here local landlords cooperate with construction firms to create the scales of economies needed to make large scale retrofits financially sound.
3.2 Rental Markets
The Dutch rental market is dominated by social housing that is targeted at the lower end of the market. Dutch social housing is designed to provide affordable housing for those who are not capable (economically or socially) to find proper housing without the support of associations.
A large fraction of this rental housing stock has been built in the post-war period, when the rebuild after the war started and when Dutch society grew massively due to the baby-boom generation. As a result a lage fraction of the current stock dates from pre1980 when building codes were less strict and energy efficiency standards were low.
As rent levels tend to be low across the lower end of the housing market, the share of utility (energy) bills in the total monthly dues is rather high. Hence, retrofitting rental housing will not only benefit society at large, but also the affordability of long-term housing for economically restricted households.
3.3 Financing and regulatory environment
Today, the largest part of the retrofit bill is paid by the landlord. Using green lease contract some of the future energy savings can be used to finance this investments. Furthermore, research shows that energy efficiency results in a sales premium, another source of future compensation for the upgrade expenses. The government stimulates the investment using both direct subsidy programs, and indirect financing advantages.
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