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ACM wants more competition in energy-neutral-housing renovation project

The Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (ACM) has recommended the four construction companies and six public-housing corporations that joined forces in the project ‘De Stroomversnelling’ to open up the project to other market participants after the first phase. That way, sustainable and energy-efficient renovation in the construction industry will get an extra boost, and the costs for lessees will decrease because of increased competition.

The construction companies and public-housing corporations in question work together in the project ‘De Stroomversnelling’ to make existing homes energy-neutral (zero net energy), particularly houses that were built between the 1950s and 1970s. The idea is that lessees pay their energy costs to the corporations. Corporations then use that money to finance these renovations, and the construction companies deliver renovated homes that have zero net energy costs. In the first phase, the construction companies involved in the project want to experiment on 1,000 homes with different technologies and construction methods. In the next two phases, another 110,000 homes will be renovated to become energy-neutral.

ACM can imagine that exchanging technological knowledge and experiences between construction companies dovetails with making the construction industry more sustainable. The Dutch Competition Act offers room for such sustainability initiatives. ACM is of the opinion that, certainly after the first phase, other construction companies should also be able to compete for the contracts of these public-housing corporations. That way, knowledge and experiences about sustainable renovation will be shared with a larger group, and competition among the construction companies will reduce prices for renovation. That benefit can then be passed on to lessees.

ACM has drawn up these recommendations about the project ‘De Stroomversnelling’ as part of, among other reasons, its focus on the competitive positions of suppliers in the entire housing market, and its desire to provide more certainty about sustainability initiatives in the context of the Dutch Competition Act.