It is not easy to make a national monument house in the Witte Dorp (Tuindorp) in Eindhoven more sustainable. Nevertheless, Ton van der Pluijm has found ways.
“It’s just necessary and I hope people now see the need for it”. Ton has been working on the neighbourhood initiative Duurzaam Witte Dorp (DuWiDo, sustainable white village) for 5 years to get local residents to make their homes more sustainable, but in the right way. Because the quarter and its houses is a national monument, not just anything is allowed.
For example, no solar panels may be placed on the characteristic red roof. Ton: “I placed them on my shed roof. There are only 4, but they provide enough”. Inside there are also restrictions.
The challenge lies, for example, in insulating the houses. The cavity walls are thin, so only limited insulation is possible, and in the living room there is a wooden floor that has to remain like that. These can be insulated but it makes it difficult to install underfloor heating.
Ton has insulated his house and had a heat recovery system built into his house. “This ensures that fresh air can come in, but hardly any heat is lost”, he lets us know. The pipe system goes through existing channels as the flue of the stove.
Fellow board member of DuWiDo Hans van Voorene looks at the situation from two sides. “There should be more room to be allowed to make adjustments inside”. But he also wonders if the entire neighbourhood would make the same adjustments or would that affect the visual unity in the neighbourhood. “You may wonder: what would Dudok* do if he were alive now?”
Then, according to Hans, architect Dudok would have thought about solar panels on the roofs and double glazing in the window frames. It is also possible to have double glazing installed. Ton: “What you see now is that people have installed plastic and aluminum frames with an ugly thick profile”. While the original frame is made of steel with narrow edges.
All adjustments that are possible within the restrictions involve more costs. Ton does not know exactly what he has spent on the adjustments to his home.
The board members of DuWiDo are in discussion with the Municipality of Eindhoven about adjustments that may be made in the future. “The municipality also wants these houses to be as energy neutral as possible”, Ton says. “But we’re just not on the priority list because it’s complicated”. The Municipality of Eindhoven has announced that it will not respond substantively to Studio040’s questions until the end of August.
Translated by: Bob
* Ed. ~ Willem Marinus Dudok (6 July 1884 – 6 April 1974) was a Dutch architect and urban planner.