The Municipality of Middelburg is helping owners of listed houses in making their houses more energy efficient. They are doing this by, among other things, hiring a Sustainable Monument (SuMo) Coach. The Coach helps owners by making plans, applying for permits, choosing a contractor, checking the quality of the work, and so on.

A listed house owner – Rutger Batenburg (see picture below) who’s house is being renovated told all about his experiences, and expressed that idealism was his main motivator. He explained , the special thin insulation glass is expensive, but he received a low interest loan for the renovation. There were however, a few pieces of historic glass from the 17th century left, and twelve pieces have been insulated with a new technique and replaced around the front door, so everybody can see them from the street.

On a 'non listed' outbuilding they placed solar tiles that have the look and size of normal tiles, but contain small solar panels.

In the near future Mr Batenburg has plans to insulate the floor of the attic and the ground floor, and afterwards will consider a heat pump. When the renovations are complete, he dreams of a climate neutral listed house.

The SuMo Coach – Bernard Vercouteren – highlighted the City of Middelburg are working together with other European Cities like Seville and Bordeaux, and that the listed buildings were the showpieces of the city, expressing the importance to keeping them maintained. Unfortunately, as most listed houses are high in energy consumption, if the energy costs rise it could result in no money left for this maintenance, as only the few rich people can afford to live in those houses.

A lot of owners think it is complicated to make their listed houses more energy efficient and don't know where to start due to the rules and procedures. Mr Vercouteren thinks this is why it’s important to help the owners, by explaining these rules and procedures, asking for the permits, making the tenders and checking the quality of the work.

Mr Vercouteren has had a lot of experience in making monuments more energy efficient, and at the moment he is helping 9 owners. At the beginning of September he applied for permits for 4 monuments and all were approved immediately.