© Pixabay
Author profile picture

The climate is changing and we are all going to notice the consequences, all over the world. There are plenty of plans to prepare for this or even to reverse the process. But what can an alderman of a medium-sized city in the Netherlands contribute to this? What is the impact of a climate measure on a local level? Rik Thijs, Alderman Climate & Energy in Eindhoven, takes us through his dilemmas, his choices, and his ambitions once every month.

Our house is from the 1930s. When I start thinking about what I can do to make our house more sustainable, I think about solar panels, insulation, maybe a heat pump, but that’s about it. And everything at once is not possible. What is actually possible with an old house like ours? If you search on the Internet you get so much information that at some point you can’t see the forest for the trees. 

Just search for ‘insulation’. Do I insulate my roof, the walls, or the floor? And what do I insulate with? What will be the actual result? How much CO2 will I save? Who is the best person or company to do it with? And what will it cost me? If an alderman for climate and energy already has these questions, I’m sure I’m not the only one.

I believe I am not the only one struggling with this. That’s why we are starting a digital energy desk in Eindhoven. 

The goal of the digital energy desk is to inform residents about the steps they can take to make their homes more sustainable and how they can save energy. But also what we as a municipality do to help, for example organizing collective purchasing actions or financial arrangements to make it affordable (such as solar panels via De Groene Zone). 

If you still can’t work it out, there is a helpdesk with energy advisors you can contact by email or telephone if you have specific questions. What I think is important is that the municipality stands alongside its residents in the energy transition. Look with them, help where you can. Custom work, in other words.

We show that simple energy-saving tips and measures can reduce both your CO2 emissions and your monthly energy bill.

Rik Thijs

Sustainable measures for your home cost money and I understand that not everyone has the choice to take large measures. To ensure that we also reach residents who are less well-off, we will be working together with social organizations from the city, such as the Voedselbank Eindhoven and Werkplaats Financiën XL. For this target group, climate change and sustainability may not be at the top of their priority list if they are struggling to make ends meet. We will show them that, with simple energy-saving tips and measures, you can reduce both your CO2 emissions and your monthly energy bill. And that is very valuable. 

We aim to go online with the digital desk in September. To celebrate this, we also have a gift for Eindhoven residents who want to get started immediately with saving energy and reducing their CO2 emissions. Keep an eye on the municipality’s channels for more info. In the meantime, I am looking forward to the advice I will get for our house.