The Wesseling family has operated a dance school in Delft since 1939. What started as a school for ballroom dance has now grown into a full-fledged dance academy offering 15 different styles of dance, from Hip Hop to Ballet and from Tango to Jazz. The school is now under its third generation of Wesselings, and Bart faces the challenge of keeping the dance school future-proof.
Right now, the sports sector certainly has its struggles. Still reeling from the global pandemic and all its consequences in the sector, sports entrepreneurs are already facing another financial hit in the form of high energy bills. As a third-generation entrepreneur, Bart Wesseling regularly investigates new options to keep his company moving into a healthy future, and sustainability plays an important role in this. So when Bart learned about the new sustainability tool Sport NL Green (Sport NL Groen, in Dutch), he immediately took a look. “I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that my dance school was already in the tool. Within a few minutes, I immediately got interesting insights into how to significantly reduce my energy costs.”
The insights he gained from Sport NL Green set Bart thinking. In 2017, the building housing his dance school was bought and remodelled by an investor, and from that time on he has been a satisfied tenant. But he sees opportunities for the future. “Fortunately, thanks to the recent renovation, our dance school already rates pretty highly in terms of sustainability. We have a high performance boiler and, because of the strict noise standards, our building is already well insulated. But on Sport NL Green I saw that I can still save a lot with roof insulation – about €24,000 a year. And solar panels also provide great savings. So these measures are high on my wish list.”
Because Bart himself does not own the building that houses his dance school, he is dependent on the building owner for some measures. “But I’m happy to say that the owner is also positive about sustainability. For example, two years ago we needed a cooling system and together we looked for a sustainable solution, because it makes a huge difference on the power bill. In the end, we opted for adiabatic cooling, which cools using water vapour. That turned out to be not only a sustainability measure, but also an excellent system for ventilation purposes, which was extremely important for coronavirus measures.” But Bart knows that not every building owner is eager to invest a lot of money in sustainability. So he has a tip for other businesses that rent: “In such cases, it helps enormously if you can go to the investor with a substantiated report in hand. If you have to figure all that out yourself, it’s a huge hurdle, but with Sport NL Green you can make that report in a few minutes.”
Besides being an entrepreneur, Bart Wesseling is also co-founder of dansondernemers.nl. What started as a small-scale initiative has now developed into an interest group for all dance school entrepreneurs in the Netherlands. Across the sector, Bart sees many opportunities in the area of sustainability. “Many dance schools have a big building with a lot of roof space. That means a lot of potential for solar panels, green roofs and roof insulation. In addition, many dance schools have been in the same building for years, so may still have the old light bulbs and old boilers. All in all, I would advise every dance school owner to investigate everything that can help you save money. As an entrepreneur, you look at the costs, and I think many will be surprised at how quickly these kinds of measures pay for themselves.”
Do you want to know how much you can save by becoming more sustainable? Take a look at NL Green and see the possibilities for your company or social real estate.