'We want to do something about our CO2 emissions'

Published on July 4, 2024

DIFFER is located on the TU/e campus. The park management was made aware of Brainport Bereikbaar's e-bike trial campaign. And under the guise of practice what you preach they immediately responded (with 2030 in mind...). 

Participating in the e-bike trial campaign was an obvious choice, says Joost Ketelaars, ARBO & Environment Advisor at DIFFER. 'The most important motivation is the sustainability aspect that cycling brings. DIFFER conducts research into sustainable energy. It is not without reason that our pay-off is 'Science for future energy'. We believe it is important that we contribute to sustainability ourselves. That is why we have solar panels on the roof. And we use ground heat so that we can use the heat of the summer in the winter. But the largest emissions are in the field of CO2 is currently coming from commuting, so we want to do something about that.'

The level of emissions has a historical cause. Before 2015, DIFFER was located in the middle of the country, which means that some of the staff still live a little further away. They sometimes come by car and often by public transport. 'Public transport kilometers are now higher than car kilometers and we are proud of that result. But of course we also want to reach people who live closer or where the choice for public transport is more difficult. With this campaign we were able to offer people who have to choose between a car or a bicycle the opportunity to experience what it is like to travel by electric bicycle.'

Another reason to invest in cycling is a little further away. In 2030, a zero-emission zone within the ring road will be introduced in Eindhoven. This applies to all vehicles. It is not yet clear what exactly this will look like, but it is wise to start early or think about it in advance. And thinking in terms of opportunities and flexibility is required. 'We do everything we can to help people travel differently. Our collective labor agreement contains good incentive measures and, where possible, it is also an option to work from home. For example, I can go on my bike and if I see the rain coming, I simply cycle home earlier and then continue working dry! That flexibility fits in with our culture.'

The e-bike trial campaign was well received. 'People mainly participate out of curiosity. This was the perfect opportunity to see if purchasing an e-bike is something for you. We obviously have a bicycle plan, but electric bicycles and speed pedelecs still have quite a significant purchase value. And then it's just nice to have tried it once before you make a choice.'

'Practice what you preach'

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