Sustainability at home at CFP

Before Article

Day in day out, the people at CFP are hard at work making buildings and homes more sustainable. But what about their own homes? Are they working to make those sustainable, too? And what aspects do they take into account? We asked 5 employees of CFP about the sustainability of their own homes.

The current state of affairs

Rented home

Rianne (business developer at CFP) kicked off. “I rent a 1930s house with 4 others. My house has an EPC D, and sadly little has been done to make the building more sustainable. The windows are still single-glazed and there is no wall insulation. We were recently fitted with a new high-efficiency boiler, but any energy saved simply escapes through the walls and windows.”
Ilmar (consultant at CFP) also rents his home, but his studio has an EPC A. “I live in a relatively new apartment complex, where almost all the energy saving measures have been taken. We even have district heating.”

Owner-occupier home

The other CFP staff we talked to are owner-occupiers. And yes, they are all in the process of making their homes more sustainable.
Sander (product developer at CFP) explained, “When I bought my house it was already well insulated. There is underfloor heating and an HR107 high-efficiency boiler and HR++ glass. I have replaced all the lights with LED. And my wish list still includes solar panels.”
Mark (Consultant and project manager at CFP) bought his home less than a year ago. “The previous owners insulated the roof from the inside, and replaced some of the single glazing for double glazing, but not throughout. I still have plenty of insulation work to do. I have now replaced all the lighting with sustainable smart LED lighting, and have installed smart thermostat controls on the radiators, so I can operate each individual radiator in each room; for example in the bathroom, which I heat between 7 and 9 in the morning and for an hour in the evening, but leave switched off for the rest of the day. I set each room in the house digitally. When I leave the house, the heating also switches off automatically.”
Jarno (Lead product developer at CFP) added, “I have installed smart LED lighting and thermostat controls throughout the house, too. As a result I have achieved considerable energy savings.” Jarno bought his house a year ago, and has done much of the renovation work himself.

When I bought my house it had an EPC band D, which I have now improved to a B. Once I have finished the renovation work, it will have an EPC A. And that is my clear intention.

– Jarno Schimmelpennink, Lead product developer bij CFP Green Buildings

A more sustainable home: where should you start?

Jarno explained, “I started with insulation. I have insulated all the walls on the inside, with a false wall, which offers better insulation than cavity insulation. In my case, three times better! The drawback is that you lose some space in your home. I am also replacing all the glass with HR++ glazing, and have replaced the entire central heating installation. The radiators and pipes now supply low-temperature heating. My decision was based on being prepared for future developments such as a heat pump and the fact that the new system supplies greater comfort. I still have to insulate the floor and roof. I am doing all the work myself, so it will take some time.”
Mark is also hard at work further insulating his home. The roof will soon have to be replaced to remove the asbestos. “For me that is the ideal moment to complete the roof insulation, a necessary task since I plan to install a heat pump in the future. But first I will have to save up the money.” Sander is also waiting for the right moment to make his house more sustainable.
Sander explained, “We are keen to install solar panels, but plan to first build a dormer window. Once that work has been done we can calculate how many m2 are left for solar panels and then we can move onto that task, too.”

Advice for home owners

Natural moment

The perfect time to think about sustainable solutions is when you start carrying out renovation work. Jarno continued, “I was lucky that all the work seemed to come at a natural moment. I needed a new kitchen anyway, so it was logical to look into the most energy efficient options. It also meant replacing the floors, so I could have the new pipework for my central heating fitted relatively cheaply. Initially they passed through the underfloor crawlspace, and that represented a huge loss of heat.”

Long term

It is sensible for home owners to look at the longer term. Sander explained, “Seek sound advice about the possibilities, the costs and the pay-back time. Do what you can if your investment has a good payback time. You often spend at least between 5-10 years in a home and in that time most of your measures will have paid for themselves.” Mark added, “The same applies to practically every purchase you make. If we want to buy a new refrigerator, for example, we also look at the long-term costs. The purchase price is sometimes very low but then the device in question consumes a great deal of power. In the long term, it is better to buy a more expensive but energy-efficient refrigerator. In other words, always look at the long-term costs.

I was able to considerably cut my monthly costs by considering the long term. At the end of the year, I save around 500 euros, which I then invest in new measures, which in turn means even greater savings.

– Mark Derksen, Consultant en projectmanager bij CFP Green Buildings

A more sustainable rented home

The first thing Rianne wants her landlord to deal with is the insulation. In the winter, her home is very cold. Insulation would hugely improve the home comfort for Rianne and the other tenants, and would mean huge cost savings on energy, for her landlord. She is keen to discuss these issues with the landlord, but fortunately she does not have to rely on him for everything. Ilmar lists a number of areas in which a tenant can make quick changes:

  • Separate waste: glass, paper, plastic, garden, fruit and vegetable and residual waste.
    If you equip your kitchen accordingly, it doesn’t have to take up much space. And it is almost no effort.
  • LED lighting
    Helps save power consumption and energy costs.
  • Minimise your power consumption
    Ilmar explained, “Whenever I leave the house, I switch everything off, including the heating and all the electrical devices. Living in a studio, all my electrical devices are connected to a single socket. When I go out, I simply pull out the plug. As a result, when I am not at home, my devices consume no more electricity. The obvious exception is my fridge.”

Advice for tenants

Rianne advised, “Talk to your landlord about insulation. Not only will it improve your living comfort but it will also save money for your landlord. It means huge savings in power consumption and fuel costs.” Ilmar added, “You can also make huge savings on power consumption by installing LED lighting. Also remember lighting in the carpark area and the stairwell in an apartment complex: lights in these areas are often left on 24 hours a day. They are opportunities for huge money savings.”

Using the IRIS tool I can show my landlord our current power consumption and EPC and what he could do to improve the situation, and the potential savings he could achieve. It gives me plenty of ammunition to convince my landlord, and puts me in a more solid position.

– Rianne Doornink, business developer bij CFP Green Buildings

Finally: why is sustainability so important?

One reason all 5 CFP staff mentioned was making a contribution to protecting the environment. “It is the main focus of my work and I want to make a contribution in my private life, too,” explained Rianne. Another important reason is home comfort. As Mark explained, “I have made it a hobby to make my home as smart as possible. I now no longer need to worry about lighting, temperature or so many other energy-related issues, and everything is perfectly matched to my needs.” An important reason regularly mentioned is cost savings. In Jarno’s words, “Thanks to all the measures I have taken, I can now save around 100 euros every month. In other words, a sustainable home is good for my bank balance, too.”

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