The Dutch must insulate their homes as quickly as possible. That is what outgoing Minister of the Interior Kajsa Ollongren tells BNR. Many energy bills are skyrocketing, the cabinet is considering making extra money available for accelerated insulation. However, money is not the problem, finding professionals all the more so. Hans André de la Porte of Vereniging Eigen Huis argues in favor of vouchers and the deployment of neighborhood teams.
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According to the D66 minister, the cabinet will discuss this next Tuesday. ‘We are going to put a lot of effort into that, in this and hopefully the next cabinet.’ Ollongren adds that it will not work everywhere and in this regard she mentions poorly insulated housing from housing associations and less well-off tenants. ‘But there are many people who are able to do this, there are subsidy schemes for this.’ This does not alter the fact that there are simply no professionals to be found who can insulate because of the shortage on the labor market.
On Tuesday, Ollongren will consult with fellow ministers, including Stef Blok of Economic Affairs and Climate, about the sharply increased energy prices. How will the cabinet compensate citizens – and possibly also companies? Blok says he is working out a number of scenarios, but the answer is ‘not yet on the table’.
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Hans André la Porte of the Home Owners Association sees a panic reaction among consumers, which translates into a strongly increased demand for insulating materials such as double glazing and cavity wall insulation and for alternatives to gas heating such as solar panels and heat pumps.
André de la Porte acknowledges that finding professionals to realize this insulation is difficult. According to him, insulation can largely be done yourself if it concerns attic or floor insulation, it is a completely different story with cavity wall insulation or the installation of double glazing.
‘You have to leave that to specialists and they will be very busy, have waiting times and delivery times for double glazing. That is something the minister cannot solve. What she can solve is the financing.’ According to André de la Porte, that is where the problem lies: there are subsidy options, but only for people who know their way around and who are able to pre-finance the insulation.
Vouchers and neighborhood teams
‘Because people with lower incomes, who often live in drafty and damp houses, suffer the most from this. They already have a relatively high energy bill and are often unable to obtain the necessary pre-financing. They are stuck, you could help them with a voucher, which they can redeem immediately, the minister would bet on that this week.’
André de la Porte argues in favor of taking this group literally by the hand, just like in the United Kingdom, by means of neighborhood teams. The Home Owners Association is, in its own words, inundated with telephone calls, last Friday André de La Porte had to conclude that he could not handle the power.
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CDA MP Henri Bontenbal thinks that too little attention has been paid to matters such as security of supply. He sees two solutions: ‘Put plasters in the short term, take mitigating measures. That will be mainly financial. Building up strategic gas stocks in the longer term, long-term contacts, whereby we look at a robust energy system.’ And by robust, Bontenbal means a diverse system consisting of several sources, a system in which ‘the more difficult options’ must also be discussed. ‘And then you end up with nuclear energy.’