Energy transition and co-housing: opportunities for collaborative self-management

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    This research looks at two developments in contemporary Europe: on the one hand the transition towards renewable energy with decentralised sources; on the other the increase of grass-root initiatives for collaborative housing (co-housing). Co-housing is the overall term for groups of households that together manage their living environment. From recent research on co-housing in Europe it becomes clear that most initiatives consider themselves pioneers for energy-transition.
    From this combination of trends, the question arises how the design of co-housing can match the decentralised energy flows, in a way that supports collaborative selfmanagement. Compared to the conventional ways of housing provision, and to singlefamily units, sharing the building volume and managing the buildings’ utilities holds extra opportunities to optimize the energy-household, for example: creating critical mass to enable investments, implement recycling mechanisms, organise collective learning or divide tasks in managing and monitoring. This paper relates the specific built form to the organization of self-governance and the patterns of living in co-housing. It is based on field-studies in different generations of Dutch co-housing projects, gathering information on grass-root initiatives through interviews as well as participative research. The conclusions argue that the application of renewable sources can be optimised as a direct result of the social architecture of co-housing. The use of common (shared) utilities and equipment can however only be successful when the self-management aspects are taken into account during design phases.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the XVI Biennial IASC-Conference
    Subtitle of host publicationPractising the Commons
    Number of pages12
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventXVI Biennial IASC Conference: Practicing the Commons - Utrecht HU, Utrecht, Netherlands
    Duration: 10 Jul 201714 Jul 2017


    ConferenceXVI Biennial IASC Conference: Practicing the Commons
    Internet address


    • co-housing
    • self-management
    • Netherlands
    • shared utilities
    • energy transition

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