Beauty is Sustainable

  • In the Netherlands, you see this much less than elsewhere, but gradually solar energy is also becoming more visible here. The energy issue is increasingly being included as an integral part of the area and urban development. And given the positive experiences of the current “owners” and the disadvantages of other forms of sustainable energy generation, whatever the energy agreement will look like: solar energy will increase considerably.

  • People’s considerations for choosing solar energy are diverse. In the US, for example, there are many republicans with a great urge for independence who generate their own energy. In the Netherlands, people choose solar energy for various reasons: for the environment, for the money, or because of people just like it. I also like it myself. Going on vacation and leaving a productive home, for example. A neighbor who had just filled his roof said that he was not at all concerned with the environment, nor had he calculated exactly what the payback period was. But he had rebuilt his whole house, and this was the last thing left to happen: “I just wanted to finish the house.” That is also a consideration that a policymaker or politician could not have come up with. Learn more Beauty

  • The roofs in the Netherlands are not yet full, but that will increase significantly. We could use the relative backlog in the Netherlands to take a more serious look at the aesthetic aspects.

  • This is relatively easy for new construction: solar energy can then be integrated integrally in the design. Here too, resistance can be overcome. Energy-neutral is associated with homes that all have to be oriented to the south, urban planning a horror! In the collaboration between RVOB, Katwijk, and the consortium ‘Areas Energy Neutral’, aesthetics and the impact on urban design are regularly discussed.
  • And there are now beautiful sample designs, where solar panels are fully integrated into the roof.

  • At the same time: new construction is only a fraction of the number of existing houses in the Netherlands. Existing buildings are therefore a much more relevant issue. And now I was recently in Belgium .. and I have seen many examples there. How not to do it: solar panels and solar collectors mixed together, the panels purple with aluminum, placed both vertically and horizontally, preferably in different sizes. But also beautiful examples: the roof of a barn on the edge of a village, completely covered, without affecting the “village face”. Also in the Netherlands, you see many ugly constructions, but also more and more beautiful panels, mounted in a subtle way.

  • On panel comparison sites, “looks” hardly matter, and the aesthetic consideration is seen by some as a new obstacle to achieving sustainability goals. It seems that people either think it is ugly and therefore do not start, or they want to and then no longer look at how you can mount the installation on a roof as beautifully as possible.

  • But there is a world in between and developments are rapid. Red panels are now also on the market, and at some point, it will undoubtedly become affordable to replace the old pans with integrated solar cells.

  • A beautiful house is important to many people. But even if you consider aesthetics to be secondary to sustainability, you cannot ignore it: ignoring this aspect will return like a boomerang in the form of social resistance, leading to stagnant, or even calls for recovery and reconstruction, as is already the case with windmills. sometimes comes up. In the long term, a great solution is therefore a much more sustainable solution: the energy transition can count on more enthusiasm and upscaling will go faster.

  • And a better solution maybe even more expensive in the beginning. Like now the black panels; the red panels for red roofs and the solar cells integrated into roof tiles. But I would argue for at least weighing aesthetics and approaching it as a design question.

  • The neighbor who wanted to finish his house has opted for a nice solution. Sleek flat black panels, on a black roof, the panels not extended to the edge, so that his roof forms a whole with the rest of the row. This is appreciated by other residents.

  • So on to a beautiful energy-neutral built environment. The eye wants something too. And: beauty is sustainable!
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