The Faces behind Working Group Sustainability

FullSizeRenderFor this article I spoke with Greetje Willemsma who is one of the nine members of the working group Sustainability. She told me that her working group colleague Marjan Teesing, who was an editor of the community newspaper, began to write a collumn “Berichten van de Groene Buurt” (news from the green neighbourhood). This led to the founding of the working group Sustainability in 2011.

“There was a notice in the community paper. I responded and registered as a member.  We do not have fixed jobs and everything gets done in good harmony. One of the members is a financial expert and studies all the financial offers. I am often in contact with the Municipality, therefore I usually am the one who applies for subsidies. We have a group-app and when something needs to be done we are notified via the app and whoever has time to do the job starts working on it. Three times a year we confer with the Municipality. The first step usually is that the Municipality wants something done in our neighbourhood and uses our working group as a service hatch for information.

“Our working group is dedicated to a sustainable, green neighbourhood. We organize projects (such as the collective purchase of solar panels) and since four years we have ‘energy café’s’. These are very successful meetings: experts in the field of sustainability and A&W residents can share knowledge and experience. We try to inspire our neighbours to generate their own energy, use less energy and make the neighbourhood greener. The meeting in De Vredeskapel where Archipel resident Prince Carlos (de Bourbon de Parme) spoke about the newly entered climate agreement was very special.
“We call it ‘energy café‘ because the meetings also have a social function. The mutual contact is important: people help each other and learn from each other. We usually have some 40 visitors.

“The solar panel action was a great success. Our aim was to get 200 panels on the roofs, but we ended with 459! This means a savings on CO2 of more than 60 tons. This made us very happy and proud and it is right that Marjan Teesing, who was the coordinator of this project, received the neighbourhood award Ereprijs 2015 during the New Year’s reception at ‘t Klokhuis.

“In February 2016 we organized in cooperation with the neighbourhood shopkeepers the ‘A&W Energie 4-daagse’ with a number of activities. One could get information about (more) energy efficient living by means of weatherstrips, LED lamps and reflecting foil behind the radiator. Reinier van den Berg, the well-known ‘weatherman’ who traveled far and wide, gave a fascinating presentation. In short, we had four interesting and successful days that attracted not just a lot of people from our neighbourhood but also got a lot of attention in the rest of town. The banners we put up on Bankaplein helped.

“I myself have been busy making my home more durable,” says Greetje. “A new central-heating boiler was the first step and it made a big difference. My energy consumption went down considerably. I have now replaced all my light bulbs by LED lamps, I had solar panels installed and bought a heating-system pump. Which makes me a worthy member of the working group Sustainability!”

24 June 2016, Josephine de Vijlder (MM)