A radically different (energy) lifestyle? Is that possible? Marijn and Martine have tried a few things, but got stuck on the usual solutions. This is why they want to put their own energy lifestyle to the test: what if you need to keep yourself warm, transport yourself, filter your own water, find food to physically keep going, clean yourself without hot showers, et cetera? Would life still be fun? Can this be done? It was time to leave their energy-lifestyle behind and try something new! Who knows what insights this might bring?
Marijn and Martine live apart together in Amsterdam, a cosmopolitan ‘town’ of less than a million people, with plenty of ‘green’, water and (the perception of) fresh air.
Martine’s (energy) lifestyle
Like many other Amsterdam-inhabitants Martine does not own a car; she travels by bicycle and public transport. She lives in an apartment that is well isolated and hardly needs heating; it is on the third floor and has plenty of ‘double-glass’ windows so the sun does most of the work. Her new downstairs neighbors seem to be smoking and growing a lot of marihuana, giving her access to a lot of free ‘heat’ and spicy smells, penetrating her apartment from below.
Three years ago she installed five solar panels (read: she paid for solar panels and had someone install them) that should be enough for her entire electricity consumption. She bought an energy meter (a Watcher) to find out more about her energy usage. To save on energy she does not dry her clothes in the dryer, bought LED-light bulbs and tries to shower quickly. She also radically limited her meat consumption four years ago and prefers borrowing things or buying second-hand.
So far so good, except that Martine has lived abroad for quite a few years of her life and has a lot of international friends. Cycling to South-Africa for a wedding end of this year, is something she considers, though not very seriously. Planting her own forest to compensate for CO2 could be a good alternative. Any other ideas are welcome!
Marijn’s (energy) lifestyle
Marijn loves the freedom of personal mobility, owns bicycles, motorbikes, an old car and does use a (small) company car to go to work every day (35km one way). But he ain’t a stereotypical petrol head and embraces development of non-fossil fueled mobility.
He tries to save energy by taking such good care of his stuff that nothing ever breaks! If things do break he tries to fix them. He doubts about large scale ‘borrowing’ because he ‘believes’ ownership makes people want to take proper care of things. He has come to realize that his own definition of ‘proper’ is not universal.
When he does need to buy things, he tries to buy the best for the buck: repairable or second-hand to rebuilt or repair. He wishes Martine would realize that it’s possible to create a some kind of connection with ‘dead’ material if you risen it from the ‘dead’. Yes, he admits: he ‘loves’ some of his stuff that he built and took him on adventure.
Like Martine he also radically limited his meat consumption.
Their ‘green’ gas and electricity energy bill is quite low: Martine pays 29 euros a month, but also got back 150 euros last year for the electricity she generated. This adds up to an energy bill of 16 euros a month. Marijn does not have a central heating. His top floor appartment means a free sauna in the summer. And a ice hotel in the winter.
Find out more about the Energy Lifestyle of most Dutch people and the paradoxical energy challenges the Dutch are facing.