‘Isolating so many extra houses so quickly is not going to workout’

The cabinet has great ambitions to make homes more sustainable in order to become less dependent on Russian gas. Too big, according to the Economic Institute for Construction, an important research firm.

The cabinet will free up to 2030 4 billion euros to isolate 2.5 million homes. โ€œWe are not going to achieve that pace in the next few years,โ€ says EIB director Taco van Hoek to Nieuwsuur. โ€œWe want too much, too fast.โ€

The cabinet especially wants to address poorly isolated homes with orange and red energy labels. Since the floors and cavity walls fill with insulation material, according to Van Hoek, it is still quite fast to do. โ€œBut if it all has to be very high quality, from very inefficient homes to label B so that you can also go gasless, that would mean too much of a task.โ€

The biggest bottleneck is the shortage of employees in construction, says Van Hoek. โ€œThe number of gasless homes has to go up and 100,000 homes have to be built a year, instead of the current 70,000. Thats not all going to work out in a few years.โ€

High energy price advantage

Moreover, the billions that the cabinet releases only cover a small part of the costs, says Van Hoek. Homeowners and landlords will soon be able to request a discount via subsidy schemes. โ€œSmall-scale insulation activities cost around 2000 euros per home. But with more drastic activities, you talk about 20,000 euros per home. Then 4 billion might be 10 percent of the total cost.โ€

Rather, the EIB estimated that the release of natural gas homes is slower than expected. Even now, the director warns that the insulation scheme โ€œneeds timeโ€. โ€œPeople have to decide for themselves if they want to isolate. And we know from experience that people with whom it could be profitable do not do it all. People usually only start isolating when they want to replace, not if they have just had the ceiling stuck.โ€

โ€œThe good news is that everything has its downside: the high energy prices mean for individuals that it becomes more attractive to carry out insulation activities.โ€