25 May 2012

Amsterdam builds climate-neutral neighbourhood

To comply with the EU Green Public Procurement (2004) directive and Energy Performance of Buildings (2010) directive, which obliges countries to improve the safety and energy performance of buildings, the City of Amsterdam (the Netherlands) is constructing a carbon-neutral neighbourhood that will be comprised solely of energy efficient buildings. The European Commission estimates that homes and commercial structures account for 40 percent of energy use and generate 36 percent of greenhouse gases.

The four-floor residential structures are designed to reduce energy waste so much that designers believe solar panels and compact wind turbines incorporated into the development will provide nearly all the community’s electricity needs. Within the neighbourhood, parks will take precedence over parking for vehicles and the residential buildings will be cooled using water piped from the River Ijmeer.

Part of the project involves building peninsulas using sand from new tunnels being dug for the expansion of the city’s underground metro system. Around 20 percent of the new buildings will be reserved for lower income residents. The EU has set out goals to cut energy demand for residential and commercial buildings by more than 80 percent by 2050 through better insulation and ecological design, and wants to reduce the environmental footprint of new construction by turning debris in building material.

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