cRRescendo Newsletter (summer 2009)



Almere is a young municipality. Its first house was completed only in 1976. It is sited on the reclaimed territory of Flevoland. Almere is the fastest growing new-town in Europe. From the start, Almere committed itself to sustainable development, and it now has the aim of doubling in size – from 175.000 in 2005 to 350.000 people by 2030 – in a sustainable way.
The Almere districts of Noorderplassen West and Columbuskwartier were thus obvious candidates for actions under the CONCERTO project. In these areas, over 2.000 eco-homes are being built, along with commercial and public buildings. Specific innovations with these developments include the integration of renewable energy sources and the application of energy efficiency measures in city planning, area development, public tendering, architecture and building.
Of the new dwellings, over 500 will be certified as socalles ‘Solarhomes’ or better: wood-built, low-energy homes with solar power supply. In fact, integration of photovoltaic systems into the built environment, and implementation of a largescale solar power certification scheme are key elements of the projects activities in Almere.
Energy efficiency measures will be taken with other new buildings, making them up to 42 percent more efficient than specified in national standards. There will also be 100 passive houses.
Renewable energy will also feature strongly, with 1,000 homes receiving 100 percent of their electricity and 80 percent of their heat from a combined heat and power plant based on biomass and solar energy. A 'solar island' with solar collectors covering nearly 1.5 hectares will make a further additional significant contribution to sustainable generation of heating.
Waste heat from the exhaust pipe of an existing CHP plant will also be used. The aim overall is for a near halving of energy use compared to conventional developments. The project activities will make a sizeable contribution to Almere's aim for a 20 percent reduction of CO2 emissions by 2010.

Noorderplassen West
Noorderplassen-West is thé energy-rich district of Almere. A district brimming with energy. The sun's energy plays a main role. A solar island with solar collectors supplies warm water to 2.750 homes. Most of these houses (more than the 1100 houses connected to the cRRescendo project) are eco-houses with a clearly energy-performance that standard.
Besides the focus on solar energy, Noorderplassen-West is unique in its abundant nature and water. This new energy-rich district is surprisingly versatile for both young and old. Noorderplassen-West is energetically heading towards comfortable and sustainable living. The district is part of the Almere community in this project financed by the European Concerto program.

The solar island is a unique project for Almere and even for the Netherlands. Over 6700 square meters of solar collectors on the island will convert sunlight into hot water. The Solar Island Almere will supply 10% of the total heating demand of the community, a nearby power plant will supply the remaining 90%. The, otherwise unused, waste heat from this power plant will ensure residents' heating and hot water. The Almere Solar Island combined with conventional district heating cuts CO2-emissions by 50%.

Columbuskwartier is the second part within the Almere project. Also here the sun's energy plays a main role. Most houses will be fitted with photovoltaic solar panels, the so-called Solar homes. Other dwellings will also be extremely energy efficient. Besides the focus on solar energy, Columbuskwartier is child-friendly (car free) and unique in its abundant nature and water.

In the new area of Columbuskwartier renewable energy and the climate face a sunny future. Residents will harness the sun's energy for personal use. Houses, schools, shops, a sports complex and a health center will distinguish themselves by their energy efficiency and use of high quality materials.

Electricity is partly generated by more than 500 kWp (5000 square meters) of photo-voltaic panels. Each Solar Home will be fitted with at least 10 square meters of solar panels on the roof or facade. This underlines the energy-rich character of the district. The rest of the electricity must be generated by the energy company NUON by renewable sources elsewhere. This means that all electricity used in this community is renewable generated. Houses in Columbuskwartier will receive waste heat from a CHP Plant in the nearby town of Diemen, if necessary combined with a biofuel heat plant. This also enables Nuon to connect the heat grids of Almere and Amsterdam. The CO2 saving on heat production for the whole Poort district will be 80%. If this ambition is not reached by the CHP Plant, a biofuel fed additional heat plant may be installed on the Almere side of the connection.

For the cRRescendo project and the Concerto program this implies that in Columbuskwartier the CO2 savings will be above 92%. This is unique in the world. Though the above ambition is in principle part of the cRRescendo project, NUON will not request subsidy from the EC in the framework of this project for both the CHP as well as the Green electricity commitment, only for the Solar Island in Noorderplassen-West.

Thinking about the climate and sustainability results in other fruitful ideas. For instance, Columbuskwartier will have a so-called 'child's path' with a safe pedestrian and bicycle route to school. Cars are no longer needed for transport to and from school. With all the added benefits for safety and climate. In short, children are given maximum freedom in Columbuskwartier.

The first solar houses in the Columbus kwartier were completed in November 2008



Some of the proposals for the Milton Keynes project are currently changing as a result of the international financial crisis and the consequent delay in the delivery of the original proposed community. The changes mean that it will be possible to deliver a project before July 2011.

The new community will comprise about 1,000 residents, plus about 150 jobs.

As currently envisaged, the demonstration project in Milton Keynes’ city centre comprises an apartment development and an office development both served by a CHP and private wire network.

The developments concerned are:

  • Block C4.1. 441 apartments, part of a mixed use block with a supermarket, shops and a crèche.
  • Block B3.2 North. 2,300m2 offices and commercial units.
RUE / Ecobuilding
The contrasting use of the two buildings is reflected in their different construction techniques and performance standards. The apartments are generally constructed to enhanced thermal performance, approximately 35% better than the national standard. The office development is constructed to a specification appropriate to commercial use, with high performance windows specified; the main technology introduced for RUE is the ise of an absorption chiller plant for vital air-conditioning.

The 6MW CHP station is powered by gas engines and distributes heat (hot water) and electricity via a private wire network to the two Concerto developments, and to other existing and planned buildings in the area. The network is capable of extension to accommodate local growth.

RES / Renewable Energy Systems
The two developments propose building-integrated PV arrays mounted on the roofs. Currently, approximately 165kWp is possible but further studies are trying to maximise the potential.

The overall performance of these measures enables displacement of CO2 emissions of approximately 40% against the relevant national standards

Technical research activities linked to the CHP operation are catered for, and it is intended, subject to programme delivery, to investigate aspects of a current proposal to supply renewable gas to the CHP plant.

Training events have already taken place for design teams and will be included for the PV installation activity.

C4.1 Apartments; External View

C4.1 Apartments; Internal Roof Garden/Court

C4.1 Apartments; Atrist’s Impression

CHP Chimneys and CHP Station

B3.2 Office/Commercial Development



The original project of Viladecans was to build 2100 new dwelling and 10 public buildings with RES and RUE measures. In addition, it was planned to set up a polygeneration plant to provide renewable energy to 3000 dwellings. Due to the economic crisis that has specially affected construction sector in Spain, Viladecans has been forced to reorient the project. 60 new dwellings and 4 public buildings will be built before July 2011 with the following characteristics: solar water heaters, PV-systems, extra insulation, high efficiency air conditioners, external shading measures, low infiltration. 2 public buildings are being refurbished with similar measures as the listed above. All this actions imply a reduction of 67% in conventional energy consumption. In addition, Viladecans will do an extra effort in training unemployed people from construction sector in RES and RUE systems and installations, offering new opportunities for more that 100 people.

On 1st October 2008, Day Care Centre La Pineda started up its activity with about 100 children and becoming the first demonstration building to be finished in Viladecans. U-values [W/m2K] are 0,54 for the envelope, 0,41 for roof, 0,50 for ground floor and 3,5 for windows. There are also solar water systems and PV, as well as high efficiency lighting and cooling and a better use of passive solar energy.

On 8th May 2009 Can Xic Cultural Centre for Youth has opened up with graffiti competitions, ping-pong and Wii matches, break-dance exhibitions and concerts. The centre will offer workshops, courses and assessing office and polyvalent spaces for music, arts, etc. Can Xic is a refurbished country estate following cRRescendo specifications.


cRRescendo Newsletter autumn 2009

The next cRRescendo Newsletter is foreseen in autumn 2009 with:
1) Ajaccio: the energy challenges at renovating buildings in the historic centre.
2) Almere: over 1000 houses delivered!
3) Observer cities: what is in it for us?


is co-funded by the European Commission | Contact | Aug 2005 - Jan 2019 |