Sustainability goes far beyond green-house gas emissions. Aspects on all three levels, environment, economy, and society have to be addressed to ensure that current and future needs of the planet and its inhabitants are met. Our solution strives for the preservation and reuse of materials and creates a positive impact on the energy performance, allowing the lifetime of the dwelling to extend by at least 50 years. The concept employs prefabricated elements in construction sections, which introduces two advantages. On the one hand, it increases the efficiency of material usage, especially when these are fabricated on a large scale, diminishing waste and saving energy at the same time. On the other hand, it reduces the construction time due to simplified handling, especially with the urban application. Prêt-à-Loger primarily utilises passive solutions such as insulation and the addition of the glasshouse to reach the goal of at least energy neutrality. Only when these are not sufficient, active systems are employed to assist in reaching the desired comfort levels. Consequently, the active and passive systems in the glasshouse and the existing dwelling complement each other, not only minimising energy losses, but also utilising solar energy (e.g. with the heat exchanger) alongside the photovoltaic panels.
The sustainable built environment goes beyond that: It extends to the public spaces, which are incorporated and recaptured for the purpose of improving their sustainability performance and stimulating sustainable awareness. With this solution the focus is not on densifying the building stock, but on sustainable adaptation through the flexible densification of functions within the public space. When expanding and extrapolating the “Home with a Skin” to the urban level, the neighbourhoods will manage to reduce great amounts of energy and water. Over time, they will become self-sufficient through decentralised energy production in combination with a smart energy grid. Other changes will follow suit, such as the stimulation of sustainable awareness and shared interests, hopefully leading to a greater sense of community. These changes will be triggered by actively involving residents, fostering interaction and promoting a lifestyle in balance with the environment. Public transportation will contribute to this transition, facilitating not only the social network. It is also an inherent part of the energy network, where it helps to form a smart grid with the energy producing dwellings.
What is less positive, but also essential to mention, is the toxicity that is caused. Human toxicity is the biggest impact category, accounting for 96%. The production of copper, and steel for the exterior joineries and façade are the largest contributors to toxicity, CO production and energy consumption. In total, the embodied energy of the materials amounts to 363,108.87 MJ, of which 76% was derived from fossil fuels. As a result, a total of 15,939.19 kg CO2 eq were emitted in the cradle to site phase. Since Prêt-à-Loger makes use of an existing building, the construction system is very limited, because fewer new materials are needed. This allows for a much faster construction, where efficiently prefabricated elements from mass production, both in individual houses and on urban scale, are installed. As a result, little energy is used and much resources are preserved, compared to demolishing and building a new house. Also, only a small amount of demolition rubble is generated. Most importantly from a residents’ perspective, the house is being renovated with the user remaining in the house, consequently avoiding this inconvenience in the user’s everyday life.
For Honselersdijk, especially a transformation of the urban strategy forms an important part of the urban approach, with which the introduction of a shared electric car program lies at the centre. This program is introduced to stimulate sustainable travel and reduce CO2 emissions from short-distance travel by personal car. It will be integrated in the energy grid, containing the Skins and decentralised solar and wind energy facilities. This electric vehicle concept is further implemented by the introduc-tion of personal electric bicycles connected to the Skins, which allow residents to travel larger distances by bike in a sustainable manner.The use of sustainable modes of transportation is further en-couraged by transforming numerous service roads into green zones to better suit pedestrians and bicyclists, and by the in-tensification of the public transportation by green bus lines and light rail trains already planned by the Province of South Hol-land.InnovationThe approach that Prêt-à-Loger proposes, looks beyond creat-ing sustainable houses and instead focuses on transforming the existing and unsustainable building stock by using innovative interventions and materials. Preservation and improvement of existing structures is preferred over demolition and replace-ment and sustainable, economic and environmental potential of structures such as the post-war row house in Honselersdijk are analysed. This house is thereby adapted without undertak-ing major demolition works or implementing highly invasive
interventions, directly saving on demolition and construction. This provides immediate benefits on a social, economic and en-vironmental level, since the construction time decreases dras-tically, less labour and materials are required and substantial amounts of waste and emissions related to construction works are prevented. The approach further introduces newly added living space and preserves the existing construction and lay-out of the dwelling, ensuring residents can improve and maintain not only their house, but also their home and their memories. The final product is an energy neutral, waste preventing and comfortable home resulting from a quick and economic inter-vention with a Skin that provides energy and extra living space.However, Prêt-à-Loger perceives sustainable improvement of the building stock as more than adjusting single dwellings and aims at improving the urban surroundings as well, even when the Skin is only applied to part of the building stock. To achieve this, a flexible urban toolbox is introduced which allows resi-dents and municipalities to be actively involved in the trans-formation, guaranteeing the interventions are highly adapted to the opportunities and needs of the specific location. This involvement of the local residents additionally supports sustain-able awareness and creates a shared feeling of responsibility for the neighbourhood and its public space. Even residents who didn’t implement the Skin will experience and profit from these interventions in their direct environment such as green car-free zones, urban farming and rainwater retention, which will sup-port environmental and social awareness throughout the neighbourhood and town.Related to the urban toolbox is the improvement of the transportation situation in Honselersdijk, which is currently predominated by short-distance travel by car. To reduce the emissions associated with personal and public transportation, a shared car program is introduced using electric cars powered by the Skins in combination with decentralised wind and solar energy. Additionally, electric bikes are introduced within this electricity network and the public space is redesigned to fit the needs of pedestrians and bicyclists better, making short distance travel by bike more attractive. This way, the foundation for a future smart energy grid is created and sustainable travel is encouraged.