How do we decarbonize the built environment?

Buildings represent approximately 28% of the total energy consumed in the Netherlands and 40% in Denmark. The potential to save energy focusing on the existing building stock and energy infrastructure is therefore substantial. The Netherlands has initiated a major renovation and retrofitting strategy with an initial focus on the social housing sector, which represents 1/3 of the total building stock. 

Heating of houses in the Netherlands is largely based on fossil gas and reaching the national target of transitioning 1.5 million housing units away from gas before 2030 as a stepping stone to a carbon neutral built environment by 2050, will require an enormous effort. Improved energy efficiency and district heating technologies will play a major role in reaching these targets. While the Netherlands can draw on Danish experiences when it comes to widespread district heating networks and a long tradition for energy efficiency in houses, the Netherlands is a frontrunner on some of the heating sources of the future such as geothermal and aquathermal energy as well as energy neutral homes.