G for Groene Dah (Utrecht, Netherlands)


Study Case:  Het Groene Dak
Country:  Utrecht, Netherlands
Promoters:  the housing association and contractors (builder).
Completed:  June 2003
Keywords: Housing policy, environment, construction, participatory, eco-development


The Het Groene Dak, located in the southeast of Voordorp growth area in the north of Utrecht, Netherland. Ecological residence construction project that arose from the initiative of the neighborhood association of the same name and in which the council, the housing association and the neighbors intensively cooperated in its development. The project in general built using a variety of materials and environmentally acceptable and sustainable procedures.


The project consists of a five residential blocks of houses and apartment blocks, with a total of 66 houses, including 40 units for rental purpose and 26 units for home ownership. In the center an interior green landscape area for pedestrians with lots of vegetation and fruit trees stood trails. Located in the center in the hinterland of this green lung, a community center, built with brick and green roof to serve as an information center. (pict1)

The initial idea was that all buildings have green cover, but this ended to be and impediment economically and technically, where also architecturally it wouldn’t allow an immediately visibility of it. Anyhow, but still they found the way to use environmental solutions by the application of passive solar energy in two-thirds of homes, adding insulation of roofs, floor and facades, as well as long-term measures for saving and water purification.

The material usePicture4d for the housing construction, in the exterior joinery made of clear plywood, which has a good structural behavior and at same time walls covered with European red cedar, a wood type highly and long resistant (thirty to forty years). All exterior windows are doubles glazed. For the interior walls in plain concrete, which is easier to reuse and made of limestone, while the interior ones made of blocks and natural gypsum walls, which limits the radon radiation. This walls has only been used environmentally acceptable paint to offer better guaranty.

Two-thirds of households are facing south and more glazing to the southbound than the north, expecting with this a reduction of a 7% on the energy consumption. All homes used the system water-saving showers and flow restrictors on all faucets, representing a 30% saving. For the toilet installation, the Clivus Maltrum system, processes the wastes and transformed into fertilizer for gardens. Furthermore, the high scale of rainwater collection, which is filtered for reuse in health, in washing machines or for irrigation.


  • Direction by the Het Groene Dak association
  • Municipality, to provide the ground and subsidization
  • Planning team and changes design by tree main groups: Het Groene Dak, the housing association and the contractor-builder.
  • Approved the project in September 1990 by the council
  • The environmental measures, supported by the housing association
  • Ecological and landscape architects: Tjerk Reijnega and Anneke Coops, from The Department of Environment Hall
  • Approved the project in September 1990 by the council

Since the measures envisaged would have high construction costs above those permitted in the production of social housing (subsidized), they had to remove some green measures. Among them, the overhanging eaves, green roofs (including design), and hollow brick floors.

  • For the development phase, the finance consisted of a contribution from the Het Groene Dak association and the contractor, an additional grant from the municipality of Utrecht, and a small contribution from the water company.
  • For the composting toile experiment, the province of Utrecht provided additional funding.

In total a set of 11,000 guilders for the homes that incorporate green measures.

Het Groene Dakwoon1







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