Interview with Jurgen de Ruiter Renovating and constructing new buildings with ELENA

Today we speak with Jurgen de Ruiter who is the financial director of Parteon, a social housing corporation in the Netherlands. With support from ELENA, Parteon has started to ´deep´ renovate 980 social housing units and to construct 590 highly energy efficient new social houses.

“Thanks to ELENA funding, we have been able to achieve very positive results so far (…) Our newly built houses have an energy performance coefficient (EPC) below 0.2”

How did you come across ELENA?

I met Rolf Bastiaanssen in 2017 at a conference of the European Federation for Living. He introduced me to the ELENA program. At that time, I had no previous experience with EU grant programmes, so you can imagine it was all quite new to me.

What made you decide to apply?

The potential grant would significantly support our ambitions to make all social housing carbon neutral by 2050. It provides significant financial support for the establishment of an extensive support programme to prepare large-scale renovation and new-build programmes. The support programme consists mainly of engineering firms that prepare and coordinate the renovations and construction of new houses.. Furthermore, we have allocated our own internal staff to coordinate the overal investment project and to communicate with our tenants about the new renovation plans.

How did you experience the application process?

Well, it took a lot of time to get the application approved, but with BaxCo’s support we didn’t have to spend much time ourselves. The support was much needed, because we could not have done it ourselves.

How is the project currently going?

It is actually going quite well. Thanks to ELENA funding, we have been able to achieve very positive results so far, and the EIB is also enthusiastic about the progress we have made. Our newly built houses have an energy performance coefficient (EPC) below 0.2. With our renovation programme, we are targeting different types of houses. For example, we target terraced houses in low-density neighbourhoods where district heating is not a relevant option. Here, we select houses with similar characteristics (energy label C-D, given archetype) for a programme to cut off natural gas supply and switch to all-electric, low consumption houses (aiming for label A+).

We also focus on row houses with identical characteristics of the housing units at street level. Here we develop a common renovation programme for a group of houses with the same technical measures implemented in each housing unit. We use a similar approach, but for multi-family houses, where we renovate flats that are part of the same flat block. 

Would you recommend ELENA to other organisations?

In principle, yes, as the EIB is an important supporter of large-scale innovation programmes. I would also like to note that it is probably easier for larger organisations or organisations with a professional administration to deal with the (reporting) requirements of the EIB.

How has Bax & Company supported you?

Bax & Company led and coordinated the application process, which was of great value to us. Now BaxCo supports us in communicating and reporting to the EIB to make sure we stay on track and meet all EIB requirements. I like working with Bax & Company because they are experienced in working with the EIB and have a good reputation within the world of EU grants. As Bax & Company is both Dutch and international, they can represent us and our ambitions at the EIB very well.

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