Structure of the report:
- Lecture from lecturer: Cor Leguijt (CE Delft - Committed to the environment)
- Mid-term presentations
- YUTPA graphs
- Suggestions for the “Being-Here” website
The meeting on Monday 8 December was set on the topic of Engineering for Sustainable Development. For the first part of the meeting, the students had an introduction by lecturer Cor Leguijt on the transition to energy independency of the island of Texel. During the rest of the meeting we explained the work on our sub-systems done so far and discussed it together with the other groups and tutors. The lecture gave an introduction on the difficulties of a sustainable development, especially in the case of the Netherlands and specifically for Texel. What we have learned is that difficulty in applying sustainable concepts, in this case related to the energy aspect, is almost never only related on the technologies available, but on the mindset and cultural aspects. In the case of the Netherlands there are many reasons why there is a lower renewable energy production than European average, whilst the most important is the lack of long-term mindset of Dutch people. For the case of Texel, a huge problem is that energy independency and sustainability concepts in general are of secondary importance if we consider the strong point of interest of the island for tourists, which are landscape and piece. The island rely on the tourism sector, and this means that many people prefer to keep this status instead of going for a sustainability future that would compromise its peaceful and natural feature.
After the short presentation of our concepts the YUTPA graph was investigated and each group have worked on it. The graph helps in broadening the problems connected with our sub-systems, by considering every aspects of a society needs when planning the application of a new technology for a sustainable development.
Lecture from Cor Leguijt, CE Delft, on energy transition for Texel
CE Delft is a not-for-profit company that combines technology, policy and economics for sustainable energy solutions. Texel is divided in 33% National park, 55% agriculture and 12% on other land areas.
One of every two sleepers is a tourist. Texel has strong cultural island roots and Texel inhabitants have deep motivations to become an autarky. For example, Texel Energie is a company started by Texel inhabitants. Texel Energy works on all kinds of innovation, making them do more than the average energy company. Other energy companies see Texel as an interesting area for research to innovations. Urgenda and Alliander are both doing pilots in Texel. CE Delft states you need regulation from the top and enthusiasm from the bottom to implement sustainable solutions.
Energy consumption can be divided in primary energy and final energy. While each Kw hour of electricity is 2,6 MJ in final energy, more energy is needed to produce electricity from coal. The primary energy is roughly two times as high as the final energy.
Seen energy consumption 33% is used for fuel, 16% is electricity and 51% is natural gas (aardgas). These energy sources are consumed for 14% by the ferry, 31% by households, 14% by vacation homes, 16% by schools and offices, 3% by agriculture, 3% by industry and 19% by road traffic. Texel has the ambition to rely on 100% own renewable energy in 2020. CE Delft states this is not realistic and feasible since the Netherlands now has 14% and Europe has 20%. The Netherlands is behind in renewable energy production. Texel realizes 100% renewable energy in 2020 is not feasible as well, but set the goal to give direction for the land use plan of Texel.
It is expected that in 2020 business will be as usual for Texel. When business remains as usual energy consumption will rise with 13% for electricity buildings and transport.
CE Delft learned in practice that the challenge for implementing sustainable energy is not technical, but about society and economy. The question is: How to get people that are going to do it?
The heat demand of existing buildings remains a challenge when you look for energy savings. The buildings that are here today will still be here in 2050. This also counts for Texel. Regulation helps municipalities to meet certain energy savings goals. The most important rules that contribute to reach the energy goal in 2050 are:
- Regulation of energy performance of new buildings
- Regulation of Co2 emission of electricity production
- Regulation of CO2-emission of new cars
The problem is that there is no regulation on heat for existing buildings.
You need all stakeholders to make the energy transition. This requires a transition of demand and a proposition is needed. Strategy for optimizing energy savings depends on the area. In rural areas you have to optimize the building to cut energy savings. In urban areas you can optimize it on district level, like sharing systems. For example for rural areas you would build a terp, while for an urban area you would build a dike which is more cost-efficient seen the density of the population. For Texel energy savings to improving buildings are the most cost effective.
Wind turbines are the most obvious choice for Texel. However, the tourism sector and the Wadden zee fund put a veto on it. Economically it would be feasible and wise to do it, since you receive subsidies. But society is not going along, since they fear it will not be economically wise for tourism.
Therefore now they invest in solar PV on the roof and ground based. Small wind turbines on roofs are possible as well, but still need a lot of innovation. District heating is technically feasible, but not economically feasible since Texel is not very densely populated.
100% renewable energy in 2020 is an ambition, which is not feasible. However it provides direction and a sense of urgency, it attracts innovation and Texel is proud to be a front-runner. However, for fast track you need national regulation. Some inhabitants of Texel are very conserve, most of them see becoming energy neutral as a chance to become economic beneficial.
Texel inhabitants know that tourists do not come to Texel for the energy efficiency, they go for landscape and peace. Environmental friendliness is therefore not the top priority for the tourism industry. Although Texel inhabitants vote to become energy neutral, most of people of Texel are not fully aware what it means to make the ambition works. There are more targets and goals to achieve that are more important to the municipality. The most important sustainability policy measure for Texel is that the number of beds stays the same. Building more beds would change the sustainability profile.
Germany uses more renewable energy than the Netherlands. CE Delft believes that this is caused by the fact that Germany has more space. Scandinavian countries have more renewable energy potentials, because of the landscape. The Netherlands had a policy that is marked with stop and go. Investments policies are stopped, once it does not seem feasible. You need a policy measure like Germany and the mindset for it. In Germany people want to invest in renewable energy, when it costs more than expected they are going to solve that problem, they are not going to stop the program. German people are more likely to invest, since they tend to buy their house for their family. In Netherlands people move house every 7 years. German people invest in family house, Dutch people are more short-term oriented, meaning it is not worthwhile to invest. Adapting renewable energy is therefore a cultural problem as well.
The 9 groups were asked to explain in a short presentation their work done so far for the design ofa plan for the sustainable development specific for their sub-system.
Health and happiness
The group looked at current values. The system will be the main center of a network. A platform will be created, that will influence small companies who can contribute to sustainability. Sustainability will become part of daily life. When there is health there is also happiness, then sustainability. The mindset of people will change to be happy to contribute on sustainable society, wasting less, exercising more and being healthier.
Food and more
The group wants to change the ingredients to a more localized version and change the way Texel people eat. They have foreseen high demand of local production and local consumption. The new goods will be of profit for the people involved. At the moment a big part of the food is brought from mainland. Shifting the food production on the island would reduce the co2 emissions due to fossil fuel consumption for transport.
Texel as host
Tourism should be of less impact on the environment. How can we make activities more sustainable? The problem is too broad to to make one solution for activities. The possibility that the group has envisioned is to raise awareness that Texel is a sustainable island. Places of interest (related to sustainability) for the tourists should be created. What the group wants it to show tourists that all the loops on the island are closed. Restaurant where they just have dinner can be seen as something more important and sustainable if part of a closed loop that is taking place on the island. Mapping where all the cycles are on the island and make routes to visit them should be considered.
Leisure and knowledge
The group has 4 main ambitions to be realized:
- Sustainability routes (easiest to apply), such as restaurants, Ecomare and other museums, focused on the typical activities of the island.
- Schools: energy neutrality and sustainability should be incorporated in the education.
- Leisure: new activities and buildings for leisure will be created on the island.
- Innovation center: a center that would show what is sustainable on the island, open to the public.
The main goal of this sub-system is to reuse cleaned water, because at the moment there is no reuse. Texel is dependent on the water pipes connected to the mainland. A closed water system would be the future, where rain would be harvested, but where a buffer system need to be created to overcome the problem of no rain seasons. The water is a priority because it is a human need and this is why it should only be provided on the island, independently from the mainland.
What we learned from this group is that water coming from the mainland is actually a problem, because, for example, last year Texel experienced a period of no water coming from the mainland because the pipes broke down during summer.
At the end of the presentation a re-cap made by the tutors underlined the goals achieved so far: closed loop systems and concepts were developed by different groups, such as water cycle, bio-cycle for materials and waste, energy neutrality, circular flow and land management.
Questions asked at the end of the presentations revealed further details on some sub-systems:
An estimation made by the group of Food & More foresees 50% of the food consumed by the Texel people produced on the island.
A “happy Texel index” would be created by the group of Health & Happiness, to measure the level of happiness and sustainable behaviors of the Texel people.
The Materials & Waste sub-system underlined the importance of a 100% separation of waste and the reduction of the total amount of waste produced on the island, at least to reach the national average.
After the short presentation of our designs, the YUTPA graph was studied and compiled by each group. Graphs with very different shapes and magnitudes were presented and discussed. Different aspects for the introduction of a new technology and design were considered and measured. The graphs helped the groups in remembering and considering important aspects of their design, and clearly defining what the expectations for their future sub-systems are.
Suggestions for the “Being-Here” website
At the end of the meeting the tutors asked what changes would improve the website of Being-Here. A discussion about the functionalities of the website was carried out and a suggestion was given to introduce notes next to the main text frame. Another issue is the way you can add authors to the reports and that there is no way of letting the other members of a group to manipulate reports made by the writer of that text. A suggestion was given for the introduction of a sort of “like” button for the columns or the other reports and