What will future, sustainable housing look like? HSB Living Lab is a research and demonstration arena, consisting of real homes for students and guest researchers. This exciting project innovates on site, enhancing the sustainability and quality of present and future homes and buildings.
At HSB Living Lab, the private and public sectors and academia work together to create an innovation arena that integrates solutions for the real-estate industry. The arena promotes more efficient use of land and counteracts market failure.
HSB is a Swedish housing cooperative with around 560,000 members. The building at Johanneberg Science Park on Chalmers Technical University campus was completed in 2016 and the first students moved in that year. Knowledge is gathered and research conducted around their day-to-day lives and work, with the aim of developing innovative solutions that support a greener lifestyle.
Easy access thanks to modular housing
HSB Living Lab consists of four modular buildings, which can be rebuilt and moved. This makes the lab easy to access for researchers, developers and innovators. The lab hosts 29 apartments, which are home to almost 40 residents, but at the same time the entire building is a laboratory. With regular apartments as well as co-living apartments, it’s possible to carry out research on various types of housing.
HSB Living Lab’s R&D concept is not new, but it is still cutting edge in many respects. The number of residents and the high living standards make the lab one of the most ambitious of its kind. This type of large ‘living lab’ works well in Sweden, due to the high level of trust between citizens. The project has already gained interest from foreign researchers and organisations. For instance, it has enabled cleantech start-ups to develop and test smart solutions that prevent wear and tear and save energy.
Analysing materials and solutions
The purpose of the lab is to offer an arena in which all participants can easily trial new concepts in a real environment, testing, analysing and innovating new materials, technologies and conduct behavioural studies to find solutions that can boost sustainability. For example, 2,000 sensors are installed in the labs and apartments to measure everything from energy flows and material function to social behaviour. The residents also answer various surveys.
Open to all organisations involved in R&D
All organisations working on issues relating to future sustainable housing are welcome to apply to carry out research or development at HSB Living Lab. So far, around 80 projects have started, including academic research, student projects and EU projects. HSB Living Lab is a member of European Network of Living Labs. The main partners are HSB, Johanneberg Science Park and Chalmers Technical University campus. In addition, nine partners from higher education and the public and private sectors have agreed to conduct research here for 10 years. The partners also contribute to a research fund of SEK 2,000,000 a year, from which all projects at the lab can apply for financing.