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How to save on utility bills in the Netherlands (subsidies for improved thermal insulation)

07.04.2022

“Our electricity bills are rising. We must become less dependent on gas from Russia and fight climate change,” the Dutch government said and adopted the National Thermal Energy Conservation Program (Nationaal Isolatieprogramma (NIP)).

The program is designed until 2030 and consists of several conditional blocks:

  • How to change the life and temperature conditions at home right now in order to reduce the consumption of heat, light and gas and significantly save on utility bills. This part is addressed to ordinary homeowners and tenants of rented apartments. It's called Zet ook de knop om! "Turn the switch!"
  • How to improve the thermal insulation of your home and get a government subsidy for it. Tip: insulate the roof, walls, windows and floor, change the boiler and install solar panels, but entrust this matter to professionals.
  • What can enterprises do to reduce energy consumption for maintenance of premises. In a nutshell, then an old acquaintance: “When leaving, turn off the light!”.

Let's look into this in more detail.

The topic of energy conservation is not new to the Netherlands. The housing energy passport (energielabel), the use of alternative forms of energy (electric cars, solar panels or windmills) are very popular in the Netherlands. The war in Ukraine and the decision of the Council of Europe to abandon Russian oil and gas acted as a kind of catalyst for the process, and therefore National Thermal Energy Conservation Program (Nationaal Isolatieprogramma) was adopted at the very beginning of April. More than 2,5 million homes will be included in the thermal insulation improvement program through 2030. The Dutch government is ready to spend four billion euros on it. The program will affect private housing, houses and apartments that are rented out, a separate part is devoted to Homeowners Associations - Vereniging van Eigenaars (VvE). Even state institutions should join it and reduce energy consumption.

Zet ok de knop om! ("Turn the switch!" or "Push the button!")

“Saving energy makes sense for several reasons: it’s good for your wallet, it’s good for the climate, and it helps reduce dependence on Russian gas,” said Minister for Climate and Energy (Minister voor Klimaat en Energie) Rob Jetten. Now the gas tariff is 1,74 euros per cubic meter. Saving energy resources will be reflected primarily in the budget of homeowners.

The simplest and at the same time one of the most important parts of the program: education and participation of the population in saving energy resources in their own homes. Program Zet ook de knop om! (“Turn the switch!” or “Press the button!”) ​​- just about that.

What does the government propose to do to save on utility bills now?

  • Reduce the temperature in living quarters during the day to 19 degrees. And also dress warmer at home, not forgetting warm sweaters, slippers and woolen socks. According to government estimates, a family can save up to 120 cubic meters in this way. m of gas (or up to 200 euros) per year.
  • Save water by taking water treatments. Program developers advice: take a shower for no more than five minutes. For an average family, this will save 60 cubic meters. m of gas and 15.000 liters of water per year, which in monetary terms will be about 130 euros.
  • Maintain a high (19 degrees) temperature only in those rooms where you are at the moment. And in other rooms and the bedroom, simply close the valve on the batteries. For those who are cold, extra blankets will help. This measure will bring up to 200 euros in savings on utility bills.
  • Set the thermostat in the evening and at night to a temperature not higher than 15 degrees. And if there are warm floors in the house, then 17-18 degrees and not higher are recommended for them. Automatic night and day thermostats - a way to remember to turn the switch. The savings will be up to 260 euros per year.
  • When leaving home, turn on the "night mode" at 15 degrees Celsius. Thus, on average, one house can save up to 210 euros per year.

In addition, the government is offering a sort of home check-up to determine how much your home needs to improve thermal insulation and what exactly you are recommended to do in your home. Often small changes, such as using reflective foil behind radiators or sealing joints and cracks, are enough to improve thermal insulation, make your home more comfortable and save extra money.

State subsidies for improving the thermal insulation of a home

Up to 30% of the cost of improving the thermal insulation of a home is ready to be compensated by the state to homeowners in the form of a targeted subsidy.

What will she give?

  • For measures to insulate the floor, roof, cavity walls, and to replace single glazing with double (HR++ glazing) or triple glazing.
  • The subsidy is also available to those who are going to replace the heat pump or install a hybrid heat pump (hybride warmtepomp).
  • And also for those who install a solar water heater or connect to a central heating network.

In addition to subsidies, the government measures also include VAT refunds (BTW) for those who have installed solar panels. If necessary our company is ready to help you return it. LINK HERE: VAT refund for the installation of solar panels.

The state subsidy for improving the thermal insulation of the home is addressed to those owners whose home is not sufficiently insulated and has problems with insulation. There are about 1,5 million such houses, according to government estimates: they usually have a low thermal insulation index (label E, F en G). It is these houses that need to be insulated in the first place. The government will implement these changes in conjunction with the municipalities, which can also subsidize citizens who improve their housing. Often one measure to improve the situation in such houses is not enough, so subsidies will be paid to those who have made at least two changes to improve the thermal insulation of their home.

Requires improvement in the level of thermal insulation of another million houses that are rented out. It is planned that by 2028 there will be no households with a low thermal insulation index (label E, F en G) in the rental housing market.

The Homeowners Association (VvE) will also be able to receive the subsidy for the insulation of houses that are part of the organization, or common areas for all residents of an apartment building (entrances, facade walls, roofs, etc.).

Read more about how to get a subsidy and how it is calculated in our next article.

Government agencies will also save

If in a nutshell to talk about how organizations and enterprises will save heat and electricity, then the main recommendation is: “When you leave, turn off the lights!”. That there are steps proposed by the government for enterprises and organizations, which are also very simple.

Lighting

  • Turn off the lights in rooms that are not currently in use.
  • It is more rational to approach the use of outdoor lighting.
  • Install motion sensors to save energy.
  • Switch to LED lighting.

According to government calculations, these simple measures will save 80% in electricity consumption.

Отопление

  • Turn off heating in rooms that are not in use.
  • Turn off the heating at night and in the evening.

More than 200 government agencies have joined the program to reduce the temperature in the premises during working hours by 2 degrees, and plan to limit the use of air conditioners in the summer months.

As the summary of the national program states, “In this way, the government, large and small companies and organizations can save more energy on heating and lighting their buildings now. These steps lower our electricity bills, reduce our dependence on gas from Russia, and are better suited to save the environment.”

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