The enormous emissions of CO2 and its effect on global climate change have become important items in the news the recent years. Not surprising given that the emission of greenhouse gases is warming our earth more and more, resulting in the melting of the polar caps and a worldwide rise in water levels.
Fighting against or at least delaying this climate change requires a sustainable approach in housing, office construction and warehouses. Building without gas is the perfect solution. In this blog we would like to explain what low carbon building is and why it can be important for a sustainable future. We also answer the question of whether gasless construction is only mandatory for homes or also for companies.
Why low carbon building?
At the moment we still rely too often on fossil fuels to generate energy. For example, natural gas, which generates the vast majority of electricity in the Netherlands. It’s also still one of the most important fuels in Belgium. In addition to the release of CO2 during combustion, fossil fuels also have some other disadvantages, such as causing earthquakes, which is happening in Groningen.
In addition, they are also gradually running out, which might endanger the energy supply if no steps are taken.
Because of this, the Energy Agreement stipulates that the Netherlands must have an almost completely sustainable energy supply in place by 2050. CO2 emissions should also be 80 to 95% lower than in 1990.
Gasless building: what is it?
But what exactly does gasless constructing mean? In short, building gasless means building a house, office or warehouse without the use of natural gas. The best alternatives to natural gas are electricity, heat networks, green gas, including biogas, and hybrid solutions.
For example, you can generate or heat energy based on:
- Air-powered heat pump
- Water heat pump
- Electricity heat pump
- Solar panels and infrared panels
- Pellet stoves and wood stoves such as clay stoves
In addition, there are also a few other things that can help you to build gas-free and sustainable, without the loss of heating and energy:
- Ensure excellent building insulation
- Cooking on induction
- Heat recovery ventilation
Is it mandatory for businesses?
The big question is, of course, whether building gasless is currently an obligation, and whether it also applies to companies in addition to homes. Since July 2018, it has been the case in the Netherlands that all new-build homes are no longer connected to a gas network, but have to use a different energy source. The switch for other homes will gradually become mandatory in the coming years, but owners can of course already invest in more sustainable energy consumption without natural gas.
In the Netherlands it’s currently the case that the 200 companies which use the most natural gas by 2022 will have to get rid of natural gas. Of course other Dutch companies can also start looking for an environmentally friendly solution. After all, by 2050 the Netherlands will be gas-free for homes, offices and businesses. For companies, this means investing in other energy sources, providing good floor, roof and facade insulation and installing triple glazing.
In addition, by 2023, every office larger than 100 m2 must have at least the energy label C. That means a primary fossil energy consumption of a maximum of 225 kWh per m2 per year.
Different rules apply to Belgium. For example, on 18 December 2020, the Flemish Council of Ministers approved an amendment decree whereby building applications for large allotments or new large group housing projects will no longer be connected to the gas network from 2021 on. For such structures heat pumps will be used.
So currently, there’s an obligation for low carbon building for both countries, but with different conditions and only in case of new building applications for homes. That said, the long-term goal for the Netherlands, by 2050, to be gas-free for both homes and businesses. Belgium will also increasingly move away from natural gas, so it’s definitely a good idea to gather plenty of information about gas-free constructing and to take the first steps towards more sustainable energy consumption.
Curious about the added value of gasless building? Then quickly read our next blog about the benefits of low carbon offices and warehouses. Would you like more detailed information about this environmentally friendly way of doing business? Then download the WDP white paper about gasless building.