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Why are more sustainable eco-villages cropping up in Europe and beyond?

In partnership with The European Commission
Why are more sustainable eco-villages cropping up in Europe and beyond?
Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Aurora Velez
Published on
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Smart Regions spoke to Ad Vlems, the project manager of the award-winning Ecovillage Boekel in the Netherlands about what difference a sustainable housing community like his can make for the planet.

How can Europe's building sector become climate-positive? One sustainable ecovillage in the Netherlands is leading the way on the path towards a greener future. 

Ecovillage Boekel is an almost self-sufficient housing community which was voted the most sustainable organisation in the Netherlands in 2021.

Smart Regions spoke to Ad Vlems, the project manager of Ecovillage Boekel about the difference a housing community like his can make for the planet.

What is the advantage of building with bio-based materials?

"One-third of all carbon output is done by the building sector. So by building with bio-based materials, they can change that immediately. Our houses are made with bio-based materials and therefore they store 800 tonnes of carbon inside of them. And if we would have built them with regular building materials, 600 tonnes of CO2 would be output. So if the building sector is going to change by working with building materials, then they would have a positive impact on the climate.

"We don't have enough resources for all the people in the world. So we need to use waste from industries to make our houses. This material is made from jeans, old jeans, that are not used anymore. And so it's also bio-based, but it's also circular. And this is made from a plant. It's called Flax, and we use this as insulation in the roof.

Eco-villages: A worldwide phenomenon?

"In the Netherlands, there are 43 eco-villages that want to be an eco-village. So they are not yet an eco-village. And there are four where either [people] live there already or they are starting to build now. 

"In Europe, there are thousands of eco-villages and worldwide, 100,000 in total. And even in Senegal, there's a ministry of eco-villages that has the assignment, the goal, to make all the villages sustainable in energy, water and food so that they can be more resilient."

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