This week’s column supposed to be a follow-up of my previous column. In this previous column I wondered in which subsystem the built environment is addressed because I believe there’s a huge potential for multiple subsystems here. Because of my own interest in sustainable innovations in the built environment I wanted to share some ideas regarding the design for Texel.
As I explained in my previous column a self-sustaining system for the island of Texel will probably be technically plausible and feasible. However our design doesn’t have to convince the “Tesselaars” that it will work; instead we have to convince them to actually adapt these techniques. I begin to find out more and more that this is the real challenge, so let’s elaborate on that aspect for now.
It is obvious that the current building stock on Texel should be improved in terms of energy efficiency. I think most of the Tesselaars would also agree on this, and energy-reducing measures can easily be applied without significantly changing the appearance of the houses. This is also an important feature in the willingness of people to adapt changes according to what Han Brezet said during our introduction lecture. The only question here would remain who’s going to fund these measures, but this just a matter of money and can therefore be solved somehow.
Production of renewable energy is a different story. We already know that big windmill facilities on the island lack public support because they would disrupt the natural ambiance of the island. Neither can we expect from every house owner that they are willing to pave their roofs with PV-panels to generate renewable energy. Although inventive solutions such as PV-integrated roof tiles or PV-films integrated in glass also have minimum impact on the appearance we might not even need those.
This week I read an interesting article of a PV-panel project on the campus of the TU Delft. The university is planning to cover most the roof surface of its buildings with PV-panels. The interesting part here is that TU employees and citizens can also take part in the investment. This means that people are able to have their own PV-panel(s) without having them on their own roof.
The energy company of Texel (Texel Energie) already has an initiative in which Tesselaars can have their own PV-panels on behalf of the company, but they have to be the owner of the house or holiday accommodation the panels are placed on. Therefore I think community owned renewable energy can also be a solution for Texel since the PV-panels don’t have to be installed on own property. Such a system might give a boost in the adaptation of PV-solutions on the island. Imagine community owned PV-panels on rooftops of farms, public buildings, floating in the sea or maybe even integrated in the infrastructure.
This concept of community owned renewable energy offers numerous possibilities and is therefore very interesting for our design. Besides applicable for energy solutions, this concept could also be applied on water systems, waste systems, food production and everything else you can imagine.