Spring 2022 is already one of the 5% driest years since we started measuring. It is clear: In the Netherlands, we are increasingly affected by heat stress, drought, but also floods. How do we keep our homes, offices and other buildings safe and comfortable? The climate is changing and requires changes at all scale levels, including construction. The latest IPCC report contains a separate chapter on the need for innovation for the first time. But what innovations are needed for existing buildings? How can we design our new building in a climate-friendly way? To answer these questions, the Climate Quarter was officially opened today: a test site for TU Delft and the Ministry of the Interior and State, to accelerate innovations in climate-adapted buildings. This morning, Minister of Housing and Spatial Planning Hugo de Jonge was on a working visit to get acquainted with the living lab and a number of innovations.
Innovation in and on the building
Ten innovative experiments and studies have recently been launched that offer potential solutions and knowledge to realize climate-adapted buildings. For example, researchers from TU Delft are testing how electrochromic glass can be used as a smart sunshade to improve the temperature and thus the comfort of buildings. Another innovation colors the houses green with moss facades; a bioreceptic concrete product that allows nature to settle on facades and other vertical surfaces. Innovations can also be found on the office roof of The Green Village. For example, it is partially lined with reflective white tiles that click together like puzzle pieces and prevent the roof from heating up. These first ten projects are the starting point for the new living lab, where entrepreneurs and researchers have space to test and improve their innovations.
Start of climate adaptation at building level
Following the success of the WaterStraat and HittePlein test sites – where innovations are being tested to make streets and neighborhoods more resistant to extreme rainfall, heat stress and drought – the Climate Quarter is a fine addition with a focus on building levels. Today, the climate district was officially opened, and Minister of Housing and Spatial Planning Hugo de Jonge paid a working visit together with TU Delft’s Rector Magnificus Tim van der Hagen and Director of the Green Village Marjan Kreijns. On this summer day, in an unusually dry period, more than 200 visitors got to know the first entrepreneurs and researchers and their innovations. As an ambassador for weather, climate, sustainability and behavior, Helga van Leur was the ideal chair of the day. Important issues were brought to light with two panel discussions on how to keep the indoor climate comfortable and challenges in equipping existing and future homes against extreme weather conditions. Professor of climate design and sustainability Andy van den Dobbelsteen also gave a keynote speech on the urgent importance of climate change and how TU Delft gathers knowledge about it. Spoken word artist Elten Kiene ended the event with inspiring and activating words: “if we focus more on good examples of how differently possible, we – and the next generation – will automatically get to where we have in mind.”
More cooperation, more climate adaptation
Director of the Green Village Marjan Kreijns talks about a special day: “It is fantastic to see so many people together from all angles after such a long time. Innovative entrepreneurs, public authorities, science, housing associations, all the relevant parties we need to make Dutch buildings more climate-friendly. It clearly shows the importance of change. We need everyone to solve this problem properly. I cordially invite everyone to come back soon, to start new experiments or apply the results. A living laboratory is only a success if the innovations are scaled up to the public space. Let today be the starting signal for more cooperation, more climate adaptation and more innovation! ”
In the Climate Quarter, knowledge institutions, the business community and governments work together to make buildings in the Netherlands climate-adapted. This living laboratory offers a place for dialogue and development of new applications to combat the effects of climate change on buildings; both inside and out, both in design and construction. Together, we develop building blocks for the climate-adapted neighborhood. Climate Quarter is an initiative from the Ministry of the Interior and State, the Green Village and TU Delft’s innovation program VPdelta +, with support from RVO.