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For 8500 euros your house completely off the gas

No expensive heat pump or a major renovation for installing underfloor heating. For 8500 euros completely off the gas and an energy bill of zero euros. The 65-year-old Krijn Hoogenboom managed it with existing techniques. Thanks to their modest investment, he and his wife Jetty have extra budget to go on holiday to Italy more often. ‘Pizza on vacation is free’, jokes Krijn when he looks at the yield of his solar panels.


Krijn Hoogenboom and his wife Jetty live in rural Lemelerveld. Krijn took pre-retirement more than five years ago and then had plenty of time to delve into making their owner-occupied home more sustainable. He found many of the proposed measures, such as floor insulation, a heat pump, installing underfloor heating and replacing the existing radiators with convectors, far too expensive.

Too expensive solutions

Those far too expensive solutions are all talked into you by the trade’, says Krijn. ‘I don’t have 30,000 or 40,000 euros on the shelf for a heat pump. Visit  Freedivingcommunity.com for more information.  I thought: there must be another way and for much less money.’ After an extensive search on the internet, he started working on his own house in 2019. This has resulted in the ‘Krijn package’: inspiration for people who want to get started with a limited budget. How did Krijn manage it?


1. Insulation/Energy Label C

Krijn’s house, built in 1984, has double glazing as standard and the walls are made of 33 centimeters thick durox aerated concrete. The house has no cavity walls, but the house is sufficiently insulated with energy label C. Jetty and Krijn had one broken window replaced by HR++ glass. And the top of their house consists of wood-frame construction and they put artificial slate over it for 1500 euros, which immediately gave an insulating effect.


2. Caravan floor heating (440 euros)

Krijn has laid an insulation layer on the subfloor: a kind of thin foam with an aluminum side for 50 euros per roll. He put the shiny side up to let the heat radiate upwards and he placed a number of strips of caravan underfloor heating on it. Over it is a laminate floor. This caravan floor heating is not located under his entire living room floor, but only four strips of 2.40 meters in length, 60 centimeters wide and 2 to 3 mm thick exactly in the tread from the sitting room to the kitchen. ‘It makes no sense under a thick carpet,’ says Krijn. He managed to acquire this 24-volt caravan floor heating system in Germany and paid 440 euros for the four strips together. ‘I don’t want 220 volts under my floor. And when we turn on the underfloor heating, it’s 22 to 24 degrees,’ says Krijn, who keeps a close eye on everything on his thermostat. If it gets colder than 18.5 degrees in the living room, the underfloor heating will automatically turn on to a comfortable 20 degrees.


3. Infrared panels (200 euros each)

In addition, Krijn has also hung two infrared panels above the dining table in the kitchen and above the two large, black armchairs where he and Jetty watch television together. These are the places in the house where they are not moving, and where they sometimes want to be extra comfortable. His 600 watt infrared panels cost about 200 euros each (without installation costs).


4. Instantaneous water heater instead of heat pump (645 euros)

He can also continue to use his old radiators and he can heat water via an instantaneous water heater, also known as an instant heater. He also uses this device to heat the shower water. Krijn explains: ‘This system is widely used in France. They have no gas there. I ordered that transfer device via the internet for 645 euros.’ The water in the radiators is therefore about 30 degrees.


5. Electric water heater is off 23 hours a day

For showering, he ordered a small boiler of 50 liters in the Czech Republic and it cost no more than 150 euros. ‘The water is heated most days of the year via our solar panels. I’m retired and luckily I don’t have to get up early. When we get up in the morning we turn on the boiler, then have an extensive breakfast and after an hour, around ten o’clock, the water has warmed up sufficiently and we take a shower. And after taking a shower we turn off the empty boiler. It’s a shame to have water heated in a boiler all day long, which you don’t use for 23 hours a day.’


6. Small 7 liter electric water heater in the kitchen

And in a kitchen cupboard they have placed a small electric boiler of 7 liters for hot water. According to Krijn, comparable to a boiling water tap, but from a much cheaper European brand. And they cook on an induction hob. The combination microwave, dishwasher, extractor hood and airfryer that they already had, already worked completely on electricity, so nothing had to be done with it. For the installation of all things and adjusting the meter cupboard – because you have extra groups no dig – Krijn called an installer.


7. Six solar panels (3500 euros including installation)

Before the energy transition, Krijn and Jetty used about 3300 kWh of electricity per year and paid about 180 euros per month on their energy bill; that was before the explosive rise in current energy prices. They have been completely off gas since 2019 and since then their electricity consumption has increased to 5500 kWh per year. Because the couple uses more energy after the renovation, it was necessary to expand the 12 solar panels that Krijn had installed on his roof in 2011. That is why he has installed six extra solar panels on the roof of his garage in 2020, which cost 3500 euros including installation.


8. Windmill (168 euros)

In addition to his solar panels, he also generates about 400 watts of electricity a year with his own windmill: a small sphere that rotates silently in his backyard. There is always wind at their corner house with an unobstructed view of meadows. ‘I ordered the thing for 168 euros in China. If you buy the exact same one in the Netherlands, they ask 600 euros for it,’ says the price-conscious Krijn. And for five bucks he had his windmill welded to a six meter high white pole.


Survive the energy bill

Since gas prices have gone through the roof, the concerned comments about energy bills have been pouring in to the Radar editors. For many people, and this is not limited to the lowest incomes, the bills are unaffordable and cause for great concern. What can you do yourself now? Watch the documentary ‘Surviving the energy bill’ on NPO Start.


Investment pays for itself within 2 years

‘Thanks to the sky-high energy prices, I will earn back that investment in 1.5 years. I have zero on the meter and I even earn an average of 20 euros per month by feeding back solar energy. We generate more solar energy than we use in electricity,’ says Krijn with a laugh. ‘When the weather is nice, our solar panels work perfectly and we eat free pizza on holiday.’


‘Sustainability can be done for much less money’

If your house is reasonably well insulated and you already have solar panels, the switch to my method of sustainability is quick and fairly cheap.’ He figured it all out himself and it took a lot of time to pick out the right, good, energy-efficient and high-quality brands. He is annoyed that there are no companies that want to spread his idea and knowledge among more people. ‘I have already spoken to the municipality of Dalfsen several times, but they keep talking about heat pumps and investments of tens of thousands of euros per household; amounts that many people cannot afford. A lot of fuss, but it can be done for a lot less money’, says Krijn.


Building kit à la Krijn

Krijn hopes that after this report a company will want to dive into a kind of building kit, where people can order ready-made items online and have them installed by a professional company. And scaling up will only reduce the purchase price even further.