Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment
Research School for Socio-Economic and
Natural Sciences of the Environment

Behaviour essential in energy-efficient living

After renovating their home, some people actually start using more energy. Researchers from Wageningen signalled that behaviour plays a big role and they now help local authorities, energy cooperatives, and housing cooperatives to provide customised solutions. This is achieved by both installing advanced heating systems and insulation as well as by trusting the residents to be experts in their own energy use. What actions do you take to be more energy efficient? What else can be done?

Bas van Vliet pictureTo achieve climate neutrality in the Netherlands, we have to start adapting our homes on a large scale. Strangely enough, it appears that some people use more energy in their renovated home than they did before. This is because the renovation programmes do not sufficiently account for the way people use their homes, says Bas van Vliet, Associate Professor of Environmental Policies at Wageningen University & Research.

No meaning

“People who go from a single gas heater to a full central heating system can now heat all the rooms. Or residents of houses with a linked heating and ventilation system open the windows, meaning that it needs additional heating”, says van Vliet. The result is that a house that was upgraded from energy level E to B could suddenly use more energy. “The energy label says something about the house, but does not say anything about the actual energy use, and as such it has no real meaning”, says Van Vliet. “People can also receive higher energy bills than they were expecting if they only look at the energy label of the house.”

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Monday 25 February 2019