The main goal of the renovation was to make Moerwijkzicht “future-proof”, to save on energy costs and Co2 emissions using various energy interventions and to improve living comfort. The interventions all contribute to achieving the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement. To accomplish this, Alwel worked closely with the residents of the tower block.
ALWEL – Social Housing Corporation
Moerwijkzicht is one of the largest apartment complexes in Breda. It has 241 dwellings in 12 storeys and a highly diverse mix of residents including about 25 different nationalities. The outdated appearance of the flats meant that it was not the most attractive living environ- ment. There was hardly any relationship between neighbours before renovation.
Major energy interventions have been made that were necessary to meet the sustainability objectives. Alwel insulated all the apartments and adjusted the ventilation, improving living comfort and indoor climate and reducing energy consumption. The communal connection to the district heating network was replaced by individual connections. As a result, actual heating consumption can now be measured using a separate gigajoule meter in each dwelling, resulting in a fair distribution of the heating costs. All communal lighting has been replaced by LED lighting. A deliberate decision was taken not to replace the existing window frames after renovation, although the existing double glazing has been replaced by HR ++ glass. The old glass has been recycled. All the asbestos present has been removed.
In addition, the apartment block now has a new look because the concrete balustrades have been painted according to a designed colour scheme. Finally, intensive collaboration took place with the residents, to ensure that they had a say in the various interventions and to create greater connectivity between them.
Social: Renovating an occupied property puts enormous pressure on the residents. They dreaded “the hassle”, the inconvenience the renovation would entail and the long-term intrusion on their privacy.
Alwel invested in clear communication with all residents. The aim was to work with residents as closely as possible, informing them and making choices together. To achieve this, around 25 residents applied to become a floor contact person (FCP). The FCPs played an essential role in communication, going door-to-door to inform residents and gather information: « what address requires additional attention, where are we dealing with a language barrier, in which cases are social problems or vulnerable people due to factors such as illness?”
The FCPs developed in their role and became increasingly more involved. Confidential advisors were appointed, for example.A number of FCPs also discussed a social plan, while another committee focused on the pros and cons of connecting to the Amer district heating network.
Collaborating with the residents, where the input from the FCPs was crucial, the way in which communication was given shape and the way in which the residents’ participation was achieved, is seen by all parties involved in this project as the great success factor.
Financial and environmental: The total costs of the renovation (renovation, sustainability, energy transition) were approximately € 36,000 per dwelling. These are acceptable costs for a housing corporation to invest in making properties more sustainable and are lower than the average.
The heating requirement of the dwelling has been significantly reduced and at the same time, residents pay lower living costs than before the renovation, have a more comfortable home with a healthier indoor climate, and the emission of the building-related Co2 has been reduced to 0. The technical concept is easy to apply to comparable gallery flats that are due for renovation.
Alwel did learn a lot from this approach and apply these lessons when renovating other flats.
The success factors:
▶ Collaborating with the residents, whereby the input from the Floor Contact Person (FCP) staff was crucial, the intensive communication with and the opportunity for the residents’ own input and ideas, created wider acceptance;
▶ Living costs remain the same or are lower, despite the increase in rent. Calculation models based on actual energy consumption gave insight into the total housing costs;
▶ The individual connection to the Amer district heating network was presented as an opportunity;
▶ The way in which Alwel accommodated the residents with allowances, vouchers and replacement equipment;
▶ The showcase home where the changes and possible alternatives could be viewed. This was also often used as a meeting place.
▶ Working with “floor contact persons” had an enormous impact on the results. The success of this approach lied mainly in the investment in time and personal attention. A number of supportive communication tools were necessary. The means of communication that were developed are available and will be duplicated for other projects.
▶ Involve heating supplier at an earlier stage. This makes it possible to offer residents a comprehensive package of renovation and sustainable energy;
▶ Connecting a new installation to an existing boiler house calls for clear insight into feasibility and proper agreements on conditions, responsibilities, liability and the method of notification in the event of any malfunctions and maintenance work;
▶ Implementation: taking more time for preparation and interim evaluations. Out-engineering exceptions at an early stage;
▶ Making information for residents as visual as possible.