NEXT-BUILDINGS Site Amsterdam

Country & City

  • The Netherlands
  • Amsterdam

Project

Contact Information

Houthaven used to be a harbour and timber handling area, situated close to Amsterdam city centre, where many wood factories and related companies were located. After a long history of industrial activities, Houthaven is being transformed into a residential area. In total, seven islands are under development, providing space for 2 200 dwellings, 70 houseboats and 50 000 m2 facilities. In the NEXT-BUILDINGS project, 30 000 m2 of net zero-energy buildings were realised within Houthaven in the area named Blok 0. What is special about Blok 0 is that consortia of future residents took the lead in developing this area. In total about 250 dwellings were foreseen, as well as about 700 m2 of other building uses such as ateliers and studios. A collective car parking was realised, and additional parking is possible at some of the plots.

The construction works finished in April 2016 and by June 2016 Blok 0 was almost completely occupied. Part of the project is also the Brede School, which is an excellent example of linking climate neutral building to education. The roof of the school is equipped with a large array of high-performance solar photovoltaic modules. Monitoring devices have been installed in a sample of the dwellings to ensure that useful energy data from the neighbourhood is available; the approach is based on smart meters and web-based data collection.

*The KPIs for the new building are compared with the baseline of a reference building and reference energy suppliers.

Brede School has an overall area of 6000 m2, where the energy supply is provided by photovoltaics and district heating. According to design data, the objective is a reduction of final energy demand by 450 MWh/year, while the primary energy demand is to be reduced by 612 MWh per year and the CO2 by 53 tonnes per year. The integrated photovoltaic is designed to produce 113 MWh/year with a payback of 7 years.

Blok 0 consists of 9 buildings with a total area of 25 400 m2 with the energy supply provided by photovoltaic modules and district heating. According to design data, the final energy demand of the building is to be reduced by 1778 MWh/year, while the primary energy demand is to be reduced by 2844 MWh per year and the CO2 by 611 tonnes per year. The integrated solar photovoltaic modules are designed to produce 270 MWh/year with a payback of 7 years.

Financial & Economic

Financial & Economic
Country
Encountered barriers
Solution
The Netherlands

High upfront capital costs

Several financial instruments were introduced to cover for the extra costs of the first net zero-energy buildings in Houthaven demo site Blok 0:

  • the sustainable district heating and cooling system is partly financed by the fee that builders need to pay to connect to the grid. The remaining part is financed by the energy service company Westpoort Warmte, which will exploit the heating and cooling system in order to obtain a return on their investment.
  • homeowners and builders could take advantage of the existing regulations and grants to lower the extra costs of the net zero-energy buildings.
  • no split incentives for developers. The City of Amsterdam compensates developers for the remaining extra costs of the net zero-energy buildings by adjusting the price of the building plots.

Access to capital, Financial & Economic, Energy

The Netherlands

Due to the global financial crisis, the project realisation had to be postponed as the financing, through the municipality of Amsterdam became problematic.

Professional investors, like banks, had to be involved.

Access to capital, Financial & Economic, Risks & uncertainties, Energy

To cover the financial risk, the municipal Amsterdam Development Company introduced a requirement that at least 80 % of dwellings had to be sold before the construction could begin. Due to the economic crisis, this requirement could not be complied with.

The municipal Amsterdam Development Company took the risk and the construction started anyway. However, the required number of apartments has already been sold.

Administrative capacity & burdens, Financial & Economic, Risks & uncertainties, Regulatory & Administrative, Energy

Regulatory & Administrative

Regulatory & Administrative
Country
Encountered barriers
Solution
The Netherlands

Power markets for renewable energy are quite new and are governed by traditional large energy companies.

The municipal Amsterdam Development Company had to prepare new types of contracts that were tailored to the given situation and to engage new parties.

Regulations & standards, Public procurement, Regulatory & Administrative, Energy

Best Practices

Best Practices
Country

Description

Links to lessons learned
The Netherlands

Houthaven’s Blok 0 area was specially designed so that no real estate developer had the lead in developing this area, but a consortium of future residents are the protagonists. The future residents had to agree in their consortium on the architecture of the building and the energy concept, and were responsible for the submission of the building permits. Milestones were part of the agreement with the consortium, with the risk of losing their reservation for the plot to other interested parties, in case milestones were not met.

The Netherlands

The city of Amsterdam’s local policy was that all new building developments should be carbon neutral by 2015. Before this date, the city was aiming for carbon neutral development in 40 % of the building projects. The Houthaven demo site is one of the test projects with the objective to build carbon neutral dwellings and set the standard for cost-effective carbon neutral development in the city area after 2015.

The Netherlands

The Collective Self-organised way of development was used. Through this method, the future inhabitants can decide about many aspects of their still-to-be-built houses and commission the construction to the builder. Within the approach, private persons are raising money for their future house. Due to the financial crisis and in order to be able to streamline this process, the first building block (Blok 0) was divided into smaller parts of 8-9 building plots or units. These building plots were then advertised for purchase in the newspapers and the actual buyers were drawn by lot from those who applied. The City Council of Amsterdam accepted the role of an umbrella organisation, acting on behalf of the private individuals. As the City Council has the competencies needed for such a role, this proved to be a success.

Challenges

Challenges
Country

Description

Links to lessons learned
The Netherlands

According to the research by the city of Amsterdam, the extra costs for an energy-neutral house can be roughly EUR 7000. Buyers are willing to invest an additional EUR 5000 to EUR 10 000 for the measures. Moreover, there is a European grant of approximately EUR 5000 per house available. As a result, most builders will add these costs to the selling price. However, about half of the builders have experienced that the measures actually exceed the mentioned limit of EUR 10 000, so when the European grant runs out, builders in the future may become hesitant to realise an energy neutral house in Houthaven.

Energy: 

The following array of interventions was implemented as part of the NEXT-BUILDINGS project in Amsterdam:

Energy efficiency in buildings

  • Retrofitting the building envelope
  • High-performance new buildings
  • Building services (HVAC & lighting)
  • Building integrated renewable energy sources
    • Photovoltaic: the roof is equipped with a large array of high-performance solar modules

Energy systems integration

  • District heating and cooling

 

ICT: 
  • Building energy management system
    • Monitoring devices are installed to ensure that useful energy data from the neighbourhood is available. The approach is based on smart meters and web-based data collection.
  • Mobile applications for citizens