cRRescendo Newsletter (summer 2010)



Sun Island is living up to the Almere Principles
Three football pitches of sustainability!

It will be a sunny summer in Almere. The Almere Sun Island is completed and officially opened on Monday June 21. For the first time homes in the Netherlands will be heated collectively with locally-generated solar energy. The Almere Sun Island, located in Noorderplassen West, sets an appealing example, in line with the pioneering and innovative policy Almere is known for. It will be an icon in the Almere landscape.

In presence of alderman Mrs. Steunenberg (Environment), Peter Smink (CFO NUON) and Holland's first austronaut, Wubbo Ockels, pupils of two local primary schools performed a may-pole traditional dance on Midsummer day 2010. The planting of the may-pole is an ancient tradition to honour nature at the beginning of summer.
Almost 500 citizens of Almere visited the opening festival during Midsummer weekend.

Award winning picture 'Sun within hand reach' by Almeres young citizen Larissa van Dijk.

Almere Principles
Almere is a new town located in the youngest province of the Netherlands, just east of Amsterdam. During many years, Almere has researched large-scale renewable development. This resulted in Almere's multinucleated city plan with local recreational options for all townships; in an extensive grid of cycling paths; in 60 kilometers of free bus lanes connecting six train stations; and in the city heating system.

The municipality of Almere now has committed itself to sustainability and the concept of 'Cradle to Cradle' adapted in the Almere Principles. The first project living up to these Almere Principles is the european cRRescendo project, in which Almere cooperates with Ajaccio (FR), Milton Keynes (UK) and Viladecans (ES). In this project Almere aims to integrate a major share of sustainability into the homes and energy infrastructure of two so-called EnergyRich districts.

EnergyRich districts
The idea of the Almere Sun Island has been a part of Almere's youngest history for a long time. In 1998, the City Council of Almere assigned a project to assure integral energy supply to Noorderplassen West. Next to the CO2 reduction of at least 30 percent and the 10 percent EPC reduction, a third demand was to generate 10 percent of the energy renewably.

With this criterium, the city has challenged Nuon, as a possible energy provider, to come up with an innovative solution: a large area of collective solar collectors. The EU granted this successful use of the market forces for public policy with an important project subsidy for Almere's first two EnergyRich districts.

Almere Sun Island facts

(Dutch spoken)

The way the Sun Island works is simple: water in the solar collectors is heated by the sun. The heated water will then be pumped directly into the district heating network that will supply heating and hot tap water to the new residential area Noorderplassen West. 6900 m2 of solar collectors on a 1,5 hectares island contribute substantially to the hot water demand of the 2700 houses.

The project is in keeping with Nuon's intentions to make its energy supply innovative and sustainable. The Almere Sun Island will supply 9.750 Gigajoules of sustainable energy annually. This is 10% of the district's annual heating needs and equates to the energy used by taking a million showers. The remaining heat requirements will also be supplied by Nuon, using environmentally friendly residual heat from the nearby power plant in Almere.
The solar collectors and district heating together will reduce CO2 emissions by 50%. For every home that uses district heating the annual CO2 reduction is equivalent to driving 12,000 fewer kilometres.

Renewable Energy Sources: featuring the sun
Almere has two 'Energy Rich' districts that are part of the EU cRRescendo project: Noorderplassen West and Columbuskwartier.
Most cRRescendo dwellings in the district Noorderplassen West are eco-houses that are 10% more energy efficient than standard. In this area some private dwellings have PV systems, but the major solar contribution is achieved by the Almere Sun Island.

In the second EnergyRich district, Columbuskwartier, about 500 solar houses and passive houses are built. On these and other houses and buildings in the district a total of more than 500 kWp PV panels are or will be installed.

Icon of sustainability
As the city saw it, the ambition of the Almere Sun Island was not only technical engineering to reduce CO2. Esthetic design and integration in the city plan were equally important. A distinct design contributes to the city's charisma as a whole.

The result is there. Almere Sun Island is unique in many ways. The solar installation is unique within the Netherlands and, with a collector area of almost 7,000 m2 the Sun Island will be the fourth largest solar collector field in the world. The oval-shaped design and integration with the urban structure of the Noorderplassen West district are unmatched and a fine example of Dutch Design.
This icon in Almere's landscape is challenging to undertake even larger future concrete steps: not only to think but to do.

Almere Sun Island pictures






Ajaccio, 2010 cRRescendo Annual Meeting

On June 3 and 4 the annual meeting was organized in Ajaccio, Corsica. The meeting focused on sustainable architecture from north and south Europe, and was very successful with almost 40 participants.
During the meeting the peer review of the Ajaccio project took place. Energy costs are very high on the island, but the price (for users) is the same as on the mainland.

Maison de Quartier de Cannes

On June 3 a presentation was given on the building of a new zero carbon office of 1000m2 by the architect of the building Thomas-Teissier. It will be the community service building of the Cannes area. This site is currently not occupied.
The building aims to make maximum use of the favorable climate of the area: the solar irradiation of Corsica is very high, the temperatures are not very low in winter and not too high in summer combined with a continuous existence of a breeze. Insulation of the building will be double glazing with Argon filling and 20 cm of polystyrene. Solar panels and a wind turbine will be added to the building. In fact the building will be a plus-energy-house, while no active cooling is foreseen.
Questions by the group were raised concerning the urban wind turbines efficiency in a populated area such as this. The architect will do a study to investigate this. The project will be finished within 12 months. The budget is €3Mio.

Monte e Mare

photo: Paul Vermast/NMFF

On June 4 an excursion was done to several sites in the areas that are being renovated within the framework of the cRRescendo project.
The first site visited was Monte e Mare: a group of apartment buildings with 91 apartments. These are refurbished by the social housing owner Erilia.
It was noted by the peer review group that the most effective way to get results in energy measures in buildings is for municipalities to make measurements obligatory to obtain the subsidy for renovation (in Ajaccio) or the right to built (in Almere). For Erilia the inhabitants have no choice, there homes will be renovated. These include heating systems, lightning, cooling/ventilation, insulation and solar collector systems. The inhabitants will be instructed in how to use their renovated home and monitoring equipment will be installed.
Questions were raised to whether the monitoring data will be collected and if the inhabitants would be fully instructed. The party to do this will be subcontracted by the city of Ajaccio, but is not chosen yet. There were issues with malfunctioning solar collectors in the past in Ajaccio. These are addressed by rules, these rules are not national but differ per region.

St. Paul

photo: Paul Vermast/NMFF

The second site visited was Saint Paul/Saint Jean: a group of apartment buildings with 102 apartments. These 25 year old buildings are refurbished by the Social housing owner OPH.
The energy use decrease after the renovation will be 48%, the measures are solar collector, CASA system, solar protection for the entrance area, insulation, double glazing and mechanical ventilation.
Questions were asked about the control of the installations and measurements during the built. The foreman of the built is not extra trained for this project. This could be something to look into.


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