Round Table II: Deep Retrofitting in the Dutch Market

At the invitation of Climate-KIC and in cooperation with TNO, TU Delft and BIK bouw**, 20 experts gathered for the second round table on deep retrofitting in BlueCity* Rotterdam on 19 September 2017.

The aim of this round table event – part of a series – is to generate solutions for the acceleration and upscaling of deep retrofit, inspired by real-world examples.

BIK bouw shapes advanced ideas

BIK bouw’s approach supports energy efficiency and creates healthier environments with its renovations. By involving the knowledge of suppliers in the market during the purchasing process, BIK bouw shows clients the future and presents innovative solutions. For instance, the Building Technologies Accelerator (BTA) initiative 2nd Skin is designed as a sustainable and innovative façade solution, including the installation itself and a monitoring system in the shell. One of the advantages is that during renovation and subsequent maintenance, craftsmen do not have to work inside the houses, which means residents experience significantly less inconvenience than they would during traditional renovations.

Upscaling deep retrofitting

Despite the advantages of 2nd Skin, upscaling remains difficult. In the concept of 2nd Skin, multiple parties work together. Housing corporations have shown interest, but entering contracts with multiple stakeholders sometimes discourages them. There is a question over which organisation can guarantee them good quality in the longer term? And what if none of these parties take responsibility in case of problems? During the round table, several solutions were discussed such as 2nd Skin; in the role of ‘integral service provider’; as a contact point for all parties involved; as an overall guarantee system for a longer period for each component; and, including maintenance in the contract.

Value creation and barriers

Kees van Deelen of TNO presented the conclusions of the Valuefit report. To enable further upscaling, it is better not to talk about deep retrofit, but to instead about value creation via improved quality of life and savings. What will also influence the upscaling, is getting the balance right between improved conditions as well as better regulations for homeowners and housing corporations. Another point discussed was that current laws and regulations may have undesirable effects. Housing corporations still have significant freedom of choice and make decisions largely based on financial considerations. Subsidies, such as the Dutch STEP-provision, solely look at individual measurements and less on how the holistic approach is working. These activities often fail to stimulate upscaling of deep retrofit. 


Yvette Govaart of BlueCity, is the host of this round table and shared her experiences of the circular economy renovations of the former Tropicana building. First, there were the materials, saved from demolition; then the blueprints. That was an exciting period, for example in the case of securing permits from the municipality. They were not yet prepared for this circular way of working, but with trust, dialogue and a clear mission, BlueCity achieved remarkable progress. Although the renovation is still ongoing, it is already an inspiring playground forthe circular economy in the Netherlands.

The legal side of this story

What do all these stories tell about the current status of deep retrofit? Projects in which an integrated approach has been used often come up against legal obstacles. This includes questions regarding how to deal with chain contracts and how to get permits.

Have you already faced these kinds of challenges and found solutions? If so, please let us know! We’d love to have a conversation with you. At the next round table, we’ll dive further into the subject. 

* BlueCity was well known under the name ‘Tropicana’. In the 1980’s, it was one of the largest tropical swimming pools of the Netherlands.

** BIK bouw is a Climate-KIC supported start-up