An example of a net zero energy retrofit carried out on one of the homes in the Netherlands.
An example of a net zero energy retrofit carried out on one of the homes in the Netherlands. The entire process takes place within about a week.

A Netherlands-based consortium called Energiesprong brokered a deal between affordable housing associations and builders to retrofit 111,000 homes in the Netherlands to net zero energy levels. Net zero energy means that, on an annual basis, a home does not consume more energy for heating, hot water, lighting, and appliances than it produces. The retrofits are financed by the energy cost savings; the renovation of the home utilizes such elements as solar and prefabricated panels and is designed to be executed quickly, within about a week. The home comes with a 30-year energy performance warranty from the builder.

Energiesprong is a government-funded, not-for-profit program to drive energy efficiency in buildings. Rather than focusing on incremental improvements and “to do what is possible,” its focus is “to create what is needed.” Since buildings are seldom renovated more often than once every 30 years, the need to implement deep energy retrofits is now.

The Energiesprong approach is based on developing demand for a net zero energy retrofit program; lining up financial organizations to provide suitable financing offerings and convincing the government to put in place a favorable regulatory environment for this program; and challenging the construction sector to initiate a process to deliver on this proposition. Creating demand and ensuring that there will be financing available and an enabling regulatory environment removes the investment risk for the builders.

Currently, Energiesprong is also progressing with bringing this solution to the private homeowner sector through a recent deal with 175 parties (including local and national government, banks, real estate surveyors, and builders) to align the market conditions for a successful program in this sector.


To get such a program established and set it in motion in the construction sector, the market needs a new and independent actor to drive and coordinate all stakeholders to jointly develop all parts of the market solution in parallel, said Energiesprong. The independent actor in this case is Energiesprong’s market development team.

Energiesprong is also working in the United Kingdom and France to get an independent market development team set up to drive a similar net zero energy market change as is occurring in the Netherlands. A group of approximately 20 housing associations between the two markets, finance organizations, and government groups are partnering or supporting this initiative.

A white paper on this net zero energy program can be downloaded by clicking here.

Publication date: 7/6/2015

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