Have you ever wondered how to live in a more sustainable way in Delft? This question seems to be around in our everyday life. At Delft Mama, we decided to learn more and get some tips.
Path to Sustainability
Delft Mama talked with Rinske Wessels, a mother of two daughters of 1 and 5 years old. Wessels studied Architecture and Building Technology. She is also an active member promoting sustainable practices. Rinske is currently a politician through the GroenLinks political party in the Netherlands.
How did you start working with sustainability?
I grew up in the rural area of the Netherlands, close to the border with Germany. I did my master’s in two disciplines, Architecture and Building Technology. These programs gave me comprehensive knowledge. I gained skills in how to design and build in a sustainable and efficient way. After my graduation, I worked for one and a half years on a project in Bolivia. This program aimed to build social housing based on micro-credits. I gained a lot of experience and knowledge of the processes. When I came back to the Netherlands, I knew what my mission was. I wanted to make our world more sustainable, greener, and social for everyone.
After working at different places in the Netherlands, I started my own company. I created Samen Ruimte Maken which means making space together. In my work, I bring people into dialogue. We discuss subjects such as energy transition and climate adaptation. Our focus is working with people at different local and regional initiatives. We also collaborate with citizens interested in more sustainable practices in their neighborhoods.
A More Efficient House
What would be your advice to those who want to make their houses more sustainable?
In the last years, I have helped set up the project in Delft, called 015 Duurzaam. The idea of this project is to support people in Delft to make their houses more energy-efficient. Everyone can subscribe to a free consultation with an energy coach. An energy coach is a well-informed neighbor who can help you to make a plan of what steps to take. When you submit a request, you will connect with an energy coach. The organization will arrange the time and date of consultation. These consultations are free of charge. 015 Duurzaam is independent and does not sell any products or materials. Consultations can also be in English.
What can people expect to get from a consultation with an energy coach?
During a session, an energy coach will examine your house. The coach will come up with recommendations on what you could improve in it to make it more sustainable. The advice can be very different. It varies depending on if you rent or own a place. Your budget and how many changes you are willing to make also play a part.
What would be your advice for people who are not ready to invest a lot in renovation?
The number one piece of advice would be to insulate your house. You can replace windows with single glass to double glazing. Changing glass, but not the frame (if it is still good) will not be very expensive. When isolating, also consider insulating the walls, the roof, and, of course, the floors.
Other simple and easy-to-do steps which you could do already are:
- Look at insulation and ventilation. When you insulate your house, you have to look also into how to ventilate your house.
- Change your behavior. Consider heating up your house one degree lower. For example, try heating at nineteen degrees instead of twenty. You will be suprised at how much difference it makes to your energy bill.
- Do not forget to leave your heater in a low-temperature setting. Be mindful of this when leaving for longer than a day.
- Do not cover your heating systems like radiators. Be careful of curtains covering these systems. This will allow the heat to move freely through the room.
- Consider showering for a shorter time. Like that, you will use less energy to heat up the water.
Is it possible to estimate how much would a project on insulating a house cost?
This is hard to say without examining the house. For the ones built in the 1930s, the insulation work will be different than for the ones from the 2000s. You can make an estimation for your house during a session with an energy coach. You can then start with small changes. Afterward, you can consider bigger changes. Some small measures include adding foil behind your radiator. You can also set draught strips in doors and windows.
Currently, the municipality is offering a 55- euro voucher for energy-saving products.
Here is a link to apply for one.
A Greener Garden
How can we create more sustainable gardens?
If you have a garden, consider leaving at least 50% of its square with plants, flowers, and trees. This is better than covering the space with tiles. The fence, between you and your neighbors, can be entirely made by green plants. This is a more sustainable solution rather than construction materials. When winter is approaching, leave your garden and do not prepare it for winter. You can better become a lazy gardener. Observe what happens in nature. All that is necessary is cleaning fallen branches on your way. However, do not clean them all, so that there is more of a natural environment for small animals and birds.
Another very useful initiative you can make use of is organized through the Klimaatmaat organization in Delft. Through Klimaatmaat, you can exchange your garden tiles with some free plants. One more thing to consider is planting plants or flowers in front of your house. Everyone in Delft can replace up to thirty centimeters of concrete pavement in front of their homes. You can add green flowers and plants alongside the windows facing the street. This is also a solution for preventing parked bikes.
A More Sustainable City
What public projects our readers in Delft can join to make our city even more sustainable and green?
There are various sustainability-oriented organizations in Delft. These organizations welcome volunteers and participants into their different events and initiatives. We already mentioned 015 Duurzaam and Klimaatmaat.
I am also happy to state that every year the topic of sustainability gets more and more attention and action on it! Finally, I am happy to admit that many other political parties in the Netherlands work on sustainability issues.
*You can find more information about participation in the March 2022 elections here.
Delft Mama is not endorsed by, directly affiliated with, maintained, authorized, or sponsored by any political party.