Anyone who wants to make his monumental house in the Bussum neighborhood of the Spiegel more sustainable will invariably get zero on the bill. This means that it is impossible to keep the rapidly rising energy prices down and to contribute to a better environment. “You can discuss with the monument guard, but nothing is possible now”, says Wilbert van Waes, who is still trying to get movement in this matter with Spiegel Duurzaam.
Het Spiegel, a neighborhood where many people get lost, has 25 national monuments and another 80 municipal gems. In addition, this neighborhood with about 2,700 homes, half of which were built before 1945, falls under the protected townscape. In all these cases of protected status, this means strict rules for the homeowner who wants to make adjustments to the home. Placing solar panels on the roof, for example, is not possible.
To move house
But the installation of double glazing is also not allowed, reports Van Waes, coordinator of the Sustainable Mirror working group. So far, conversations have led to nothing, even if the need is great because of the climate or increasing energy poverty. These arguments are unfounded. The monument must be preserved is the answer given. “People are even told that they have to move,” the Bussumer reports.
Hans Roelofsen, known for the Tindalvilla on Nieuwe ‘s-Gravelandseweg, confirms Van Waes’s reading. He understands that the restrictions are there so that no mess is made of the house and thus the neighborhood. But the regulations and, in his view, especially the attitude of the Spatial Quality Committee curtail everything.
“We have to make sure that things are possible”
Because most permit applications are not honored, it sometimes wants to take a different approach. Van Waes says that adjustments are made without authorization and without enforcement. The control is then completely gone.
It is important to get movement, so that residents can actually do something, while staying within the boundaries of the protected status. Homeowners are well aware that there are restrictions and are, for example, quite willing to install solar panels that have the same color as the roof, says Van Waes.
“We have to make sure that things are allowed,” said the coordinator. Slowly but surely, light seems to get through the door. In April, Gooise Meren reported that it wanted to be more flexible with the installation of solar panels on monumental homes and heritage.
Incidentally, this Gooise Meren is by no means the only one struggling with this matter. Last year, the Hilversum Siriusstraat came up with a playful promotion. The residents stated that their street is ‘too beautiful’ for solar panels because the municipality is not cooperating due to the restrictions. In fact; Hilversum itself is against the restrictive rules. The municipality wants to set a good example, but is not allowed to install solar panels on the Dudok town hall.
“Het Spiegel is a great neighborhood for the municipality to start with the energy transition,” says van Waes, himself a former CDA councilor and founder of local energy cooperative Wattnu. He believes, for example, that in the longer term this neighborhood can be easily connected to hydrogen gas. That could be a good example project, something they are already working on in Naarden-Vesting.
In order to be able to do something about energy costs in the short term, insulation is the magic word and different energy behaviour, according to Van Waes. Werkgroep Spiegel Duurzaam, a volunteer club that originated from the Friends of the Mirror, wants to help the neighborhood with this. They will be kicking it off next Monday. In the Spieghelkerk, energy coaches explain how their neighbors can use 50 percent less energy in the short term.