For the past few years I have been involved in district heating at Eneco. An industry I was not really aware of before I started at Eneco. I have learned a lot and have been able to apply much of my engineering and startup experience here. Besides district heating I have entertained myself with the concepts of Blockchain, finding many interesting applications for energy as a bonus. On top of that, I moved into a new home about a year ago, learning more about the actual benefits of solar panels, smart thermostats and home automation.
District heating is gaining a lot of attention in the Netherlands as more and more we realize the era of natural gas is coming to an end. Currently district heating supplies around 300.000 homes in the Netherlands with heat. The rest of the 7.000.000 are mostly supplied natural gas. With gas phasing out, there is a huge potential to make heating of Dutch houses more sustainable. The two most discussed solutions being district heating (mainly urban areas) and heat pumps.
Last year we moved into our new home and we still love it! It is properly isolated, has solar panels to generate solar and is fitted with a low temperature heating system. The panels supply just shy of our annual consumption. Tuning our central heating system for the use of low temperature supply we used about a third of what a Dutch household uses on average in natural gas.
Working at Eneco and moving into this new house finally allowed me to get our Eneco smart thermostat, the Toon. The main benefits in the first few weeks were that my girlfriend also was made aware of energy. I still consider that a great plus that people with no direct interest in energy or a tech background can understand at a glance what is happening with their energy consumption and production.