The housing sector is slowly but surely becoming more sustainable. Circular materials such as wood are increasingly being chosen for the construction of houses. Eemshout Prefab in Groningen produces prefab wooden building elements, such as roofs, facades, floors and walls. The rising housing shortage and the discussion on nitrogen caused the company to undergo a growth spurt in recent years. “Our portfolio has never been so well-stocked. It’s great to see that sustainable solutions are becoming increasingly popular in housing construction,” says director Pieter de Boer.
Innovative and Sustainable SME Groningen
Often entrepreneurs from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have their hands full with matters surrounding the start-up and expansion of their business. They have very little time and capacity to figure out how to become more sustainable or to innovate. Entrepreneurs in Groningen are supported in this process through the provincial Innovative and Sustainable SME Groningen subsidy scheme. The company Eemshout Prefab B.V. has received a grant for the investment in a wood processing system. The use of a machine that saws according to 3D drawings makes building with wood a lot more efficient.
The housing crisis: it is a problem which has plagued the Netherlands for some time now. But for a company like Eemshout, the future is looking bright, thanks in part to the crisis. A restart was made in 2013 after a bankruptcy. Now the company’s 53 employees are working hard every day to meet the demands of the market. “We can hardly keep up with the demand,” says de Boer. “Where in 2019, we already had to deal with 125 projects per year, there are 212 now. The municipality of Groningen, for example, is working on various projects relating to sustainable living. It’s nice to see that the construction sector is becoming more sustainable this way.” In the north of the Netherlands, the company mainly supplies earthquake-proof homes. While In the west of the country, mainly roof structures for luxury villas are needed.
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Pieter de Boer
Prefab and the reduction of CO₂ emissions
Eemshout is helping to make house construction more sustainable in a number of ways. When houses are built, a lot of CO₂ and nitrogen is released during the delivery and removal of the building materials. Working with prefabricated structures partially solves that problem. “Because we assemble the entire timber frame of the houses at the workshop and then transport a truck full of them, you cut down on emissions considerably,” says De Boer. “So the emissions at the construction site – which are sometimes also located near nature reserves – are zero.”