One eye on IRIS: a halfway overview from Utrecht

One eye on IRIS: a halfway overview from Utrecht

The European project IRIS is already halfway there. Here an intermediate score. What has happened in Kanaleneiland? And what is still to come?

Kanaleneiland-Zuid has been part of the European IRIS project since 2017. Together with Nice (France), Gothenburg (Sweden), Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Vaasa (Finland), Alexandroupolis (Greece) and Focsani (Romania), the team in Utrecht are working on creating healthy cities in the IRIS project - ready for a smart and sustainable future.

Road safety

In the first year of IRIS, plans were made and preparations were made for the step towards sustainability. In the summer of 2020, for example, a glowing pedestrian crossing will be placed on Columbuslaan. This was created based on the need of residents of the neighborhood to do something about road safety. If the pedestrian crossing is there, smart lampposts are also placed that alert drivers to the pedestrian crossing when someone wants to cross. We will keep a close eye on whether this improves road safety in the period afterwards.


Charging stations

Charging poles for electric cars have been placed in several places, such as at the Power Station, on the Afrikalaan and on the Livingstonelaan. These charging stations are part of the district energy system of the future: they can store electricity from solar panels in the batteries of the cars and also extract them for use in the district. Thanks to the IRIS project, this new technology in the charging station is now being built into their electric cars by various car manufacturers.

Approach Bo-Ex flats

Housing association Bo-Ex will carry out major maintenance on flats. When IRIS ends in 2022, Bo-Ex will continue to improve these flats. Bo-Ex invests the approach of these flats from its own resources. The IRIS project makes it possible to hang a smart thermostat in the homes, Eneco's TOON. If the corona crisis permits, we will offer the TOONs to Bo-Ex tenants at an accelerated pace. Thanks to IRIS, the SHOW is free.

Electric buses

Not yet visible in the district, but something that is likely to see in Utrecht are the electric buses. In the summer of 2020, 55 new electric buses will run in and around Utrecht. So there is a good chance that you will soon be on such a sustainable bus. Electric buses also do not emit dirty exhaust gases, so that the air becomes cleaner. There is a lot of interest from Santa Cruz de Tenerife and Alexandroupolis in how we do this in Utrecht.

Shared car

Have you ever thought of putting your own car away? How often do you actually use that car? A new solution is the shared car from We Drive Solar, a car that you can reserve with an app. You pay a subscription of 49 euros per month and a fee per kilometer driven. The first We Drive Solar car in Kanaleneiland-Zuid is located at the Power Station and is already widely used.


After the summer in 2020, a Tesla battery will be placed on the corner of Columbuslaan / Amerikalaan of approximately 5 refrigerators. The battery is used to store the power of the solar panels of the Bo-Ex flats in Kanaleneiland. This will stabilize the electricity grid in Kanaleneiland-Zuid. So at times when there is little power available (when the sun is not shining) or a lot of electricity is needed, the battery can be used.

Technique lessons at primary schools

Did you know that children in the upper classes of De Kaleidoskoop have taken technique lessons about saving energy and sustainability? The children are very enthusiastic about the lessons and the parents are also interested in what their children have learned. This has gone so well that we will continue with this in the coming school years and expand it to Da Costa School and Treasure Island.


As you can see, a lot has happened from IRIS. In the coming years you will see more and more in Kanaleneiland. Do you want to help us to live in a sustainable and pleasant way in Kanaleneiland?

More information about the activities of IRIS: Rianne Bakker,

30 Jul 2020