Solar pavilion, © V8 Architects
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Why we write about this topic:

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 you, as an alderman of a medium-sized city in the Netherlands, contribute? 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 a month.

“Get set” was the theme the Dutch Design Week (DDW) in October. We need to brace ourselves for big tasks. That can’t have escaped anyone’s attention in these times where one crisis succeeds another. And that’s why immersing yourself in the optimism of creative minds for a week is wonderful. Hooray for the DDW.

The optimism started for me with the official opening of the Powernest on top of the Haasje Over building at Strijp-S. A wonderful example of how new technologies with wind and solar power provide an energy supply right in the middle of our city. Housing corporation Trudo took the lead for this innovation. Compliments on the courage and pioneering role.

climate log
You can read the whole series here

Another inspiring example was the installation of solar panels in the middle of the Ketelhuisplein called The Solar Pavilion. An idea that went from idea to realization at lightning speed. Solar panels in different colors with a flat structure. I can already see the results before me: no more discussion about the color and appearance of solar panels. Perhaps a solution for equipping monuments and buildings in protected cityscapes with solar panels. Or simply to design very beautiful buildings that generate energy.

Last year on this same Ketelhuisplein, there was a sustainable home, a beautiful house built entirely of biobased materials. And this year, we saw a translation of this installation. This Da Vinci Green is a sustainable concept where it is possible to put together a house from a ‘library’ of building blocks. In this you can choose from biobased, recycled and reusable materials. How nice it would be to use these beautiful and sustainable materials when remodeling my home.

I closed the DDW with a special tour for guests. There I walked around as a proud alderman of a city full of optimism and creativity, inspiring the world. 

If only part of all the creative and new ideas presented at Dutch Design Week comes to fruition in the coming years, I will be a happy alderman. Our task together then is to land these new developments in our region. To enrich new and existing neighborhoods with the latest and most sustainable technologies. A dream? I hope not.