Energiesprong ("energy jump") is finding ways to make buildings more efficient without requiring major construction projects.
Every building on the planet will have to get to net-zero emissions by the middle of the century to meet global climate goals—and since most of the buildings that will exist then have already been built, that means a massive number of home retrofits will have to happen to shrink energy use and replace old equipment like gas furnaces.
"In the U.S., that’s around 3 to 6 million buildings per year that need to be fully decarbonized", says Martha Campbell, a principal in the Carbon-Free Buildings program at the energy nonprofit RMI. In Europe, by another calculation, roughly 15,000 houses need to transform every day for the next 30 years.
That’s not happening now. But in the Netherlands, one program is demonstrating how the process could speed up. Energiesprong (which translates to "energy jump"), a nonprofit that the Dutch government helped launch a decade ago, is coordinating a system of mass retrofits. "We thought, okay, let’s make home retrofits into a scalable solution", says Christian Richter, who works in the organization’s market development team in Germany.
In one Dutch factory, a company that’s part of the program called RC Panels makes lightweight insulated panels that can be popped on the front of existing row houses. The company uses a laser scanning tool to take measurements at the old house; then, at the factory, a machine cuts out windows and doors to match the old facade exactly. When a truck delivers the panels, they’re attached directly to the old wall.
The company also makes insulated panels, with solar panels attached, that can be put over an existing roof. Other Energiesprong vendors supply heat pumps for heating, cooling, and hot water. The retrofits are faster than traditional retrofits, in some cases happening in as little as a day, leading to more energy savings.
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