Local news from Amsterdam – Spotlight Amsterdam Smart City
Spotlight Amsterdam Smart City – Hielke Ploeg
Since studying at the University of Amsterdam, my bond with Amsterdam has grown ever stronger. I’ve become “smarter”. Having children – my own little Amsterdammers – has helped me to once again become more aware of how important it is to use our energy responsibly. Not only because of the effect on our generation, but because it also affects my (grand) children’s future. Until recently, it wasn’t really clear to me as an Amsterdam resident how the city was taking an active role in this field. But then a mother at my children’s school told me that Amsterdam Smart City were looking for households to participate in an energy grid storage trial.
We’d just purchased a house in Amsterdam Nieuw-West and were getting ready to start renovations. Now, just more than six months later, I’m nice and warm in my own, well-insulated house (having lent a hand with some of the insulation work), with solar panels installed on the roof and the recent addition of a battery in the meter cupboard. And when you’re snug at home on a chilly winter day, you think: “more people should give this a go.”
I’m glad that there are already a range of organisations and sites offering information about steps you can take yourself to save energy and make sustainable improvements to your home. But I think that by working together, we should be able to reach an even wider audience. Neighbours and people living nearby, people living in similar houses – in fact everyone – should find out about the (simple) improvements that can be made. I would like to get involved by visiting people at home, putting the Smart City expertise and experience to great use. The challenge comes in effectively applying what companies develop to the home situation. The use of smart meters and new technology can certainly be encouraged, but it’s actually more about promoting simple things such as energy-efficient LED lighting and sharing personal experiences. Because by working together, saving becomes enjoyable – and it’s a great way of getting to know like-minded people! Tip: www.goeiepeer.nl is a brilliant website. If you’ve installed a smart meter, you can register and track your energy usage. When you save gas or electricity in comparison to your previous usage, you’re awarded points which you can later exchange for discounts in their web store. I loved it – it’s a great idea that’s simply presented, and you’re even rewarded for making savings!
About Hielke Ploeg
Hielke Ploeg works on several sustainability projects at Nivon and also has his own company Ludiek, providing fresh insights on living together, working together and sustainability. In Amsterdam, he is actively involved with NEWNRG and Oranje Energie.