Many houses in Eindhoven’s residential district ‘Eckart-Vaartbroek’ were built in the 1960s and are therefore poorly insulated. The owner, Woonbedrijf Housing Association, decided to renovate 140 of their houses, including improving insulation and applying solar panels. They are doing the renovations not the usual way – all at once and uniformly. Instead, one home is being renovated at a time according to the wishes of each individual tenant. The first renovations are just being finished now.
Usually, the houses of a residential district are all renovated at once and in a uniform way. Woonbedrijf decided to think (and act) outside the box by offering tenants a choice as to which modifications they would like to have done and when they would like the renovation to start. Many of the refurbishments such as a highly-insulated roof and HR++ glazing on every floor are offered as part of the renovation work. These renovations do not result in a rent increase. Other modifications such as solar panels or a larger bathroom will result in a moderate increase in the monthly rent. Either way, it is up to the tenant to decide!
Woonbedrijf uses a digital platform called ‘WoonConnect’ (‘LiveConnect’) to help tenants choose wisely: a 3D model shows the effect of certain modifications such as solar panels, roof insulation and extra windows. The digital platform is very user-friendly but Woonbedrijf staff is assisting tenants with the use of the tool if necessary. Still, there is more: WoonConnect created an online survey giving every household the chance to voice their own opinion about topics such as ‘How do you want to live in the future?’, ‘How can you contribute to sustainability?’ and ‘What are the pros and cons of your neighbourhood and your house?’.
Nice and warm
Mevrouw Lee has lived on the Saturnusweg for twenty years. She is happy with the renovations which Woonbedrijf had recently carried out on her house. “All those years we felt a cold draft inside our house. That is over now. It is nice and warm in the house. Moreover, the house is now better protected against burglars. I feel safe here.”
More comfort, no rent increase
Ronald van Zundert lives on the Wegastraat. “Most modifications were carried out without a rent increase. I do pay extra rent for solar panels and a larger bathroom: 40 euros per month. For that, I get extra comfort. On the other hand, the heating costs are likely to fall by about 50 euros per month because of the extra insulation.” Still, he thinks there is room for improvement. “If I take a shower, the humid air is automatically extracted. But not only from my bathroom, but also the warm air from my kitchen. That’s a pity. And that individual approach per home, no matter how praiseworthy, is also a disadvantage: every tenant chooses their own moment to have the work done, and that can cause nuisance for quite some time.”
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