Sustainability and politics

After the release of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, Dutch politicians are prepared to put the environment on the political agenda. However, the Dutch government primarily views sustainable construction in terms of energy-efficient construction, and to this end has decided to implement a more stringent Energy Performance Norm, without giving much thought to the architectural quality, let alone the quality of the building’s interior. The results of this approach are smaller windows, more isolation and a balanced ventilation – resulting in, for example, airtight homes and schools that are actually very unhealthy for their users. Not enough oxygen; excessive CO2 levels; insufficient daylight and restricted views; buildings that are too ugly: this can hardly be what was intended.