As part of the Interreg project E=0, and for the last 3 years, MRDH (Metropolitan Region Rotterdam – The Hague) has been working to get net zero energy retrofits available for private homeowners in the Netherlands. One of the obstacles for homeowners in choosing net zero energy was that there were no financing solutions. Up until now it was impossible for homeowner associations to secure loans with a national guarantee for a period of 30 years. Such long term loans enable apartments to be retrofitted without greatly increasing the cost of living for homeowners.
The hard work of MRDH and other organisations such as Platform31 and Stroomversnelling has finally paid off. Homeowner associations can now take out long term loans of 30 years at the Dutch National Energy Saving Fund. In addition, individuals can also apply for an Energy Savings Loan to make a newly built house free of natural gas, which is urgent because of the goal to make the Netherlands free of gas before 2050.
The loans available at the National Energy Saving Fund help enormously to get (near) net zero energy retrofits started for private homeowners. For homeowner associations, the loans will only be available to those that have the ambition to retrofit to high energy efficiency standards. Because of the long period of the loans, monthly costs will be lower, which make the investments more attractive.
In the Netherlands 1.2 million out of the total 7 million homeowners are members of a homeowner association. Energy use in these homes account for 20% of national CO2 emissions. Retrofitting these homes to (nearly) net zero energy will contribute significantly to climate objectives whilst simultaneously boosting and revitalising the urban environment.
The Minister for the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Ollongren, agrees with this. "Making all homes more sustainable and removing natural gas is a big job. A fifth of the housing stock comes under a homeowner association, so large steps can be taken. With the change in the conditions, it will become much more attractive for homeowner associations to invest in sustainability. The homeowner gets a lower energy bill and more comfort in return.”
MRDH E=0 programme
In the southern Randstad (the urban agglomeration of Western Holland), 23 local authorities join their forces in the Metropolitan region Rotterdam The Hague (MRDH). The local authorities work together to improve accessibility and strengthen the economic business climate. With financial support from Interreg, the MRDH E=0 programme focused on highly energy efficient housing for homeowner associations. As part of this project they supported large homeowner associations with an investment decision for net zero energy retrofits / net zero energy ready measures. Thirteen homeowner associations within the MRDH joined the programme and explored the possibilities.
Mark Bal, programme coordinator for MRDH says: “The homeowner associations within the project will function as a trigger for others. With the news that this loan is now available, homeowners will understand that making your home a real sustainable place is an attractive choice. With a growing demand from homeowners for these kinds of retrofits, the market will hopefully speed up to deliver net zero energy products for his sector.”