Linero, a city district in Lund in the south of Sweden, is a successful experience in smart city and energy efficiency retrofitting. The project in Linero focuses on upgrading approximately 800 apartments built in the 1970s in the Linero area, in order to create more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly housing.
Half of the buildings have been retrofitted within CITyFiED, an EU-project based on a mix of demonstration, renewable energy technologies and sound business models towards the sustainable development of cities. Energy Efficiency Measures in Linero are: Façade renovation, district heating, photovoltaic integration, smart district heating, smart grid and monitoring platform. The retrofitting of the second half have used the experiences from the CITyFiED project and improved them further.
The history of Linero
All buildings in the area are almost identical in appearance and design. Linero has a mixed population in terms of age, education level, economic conditions and ethnic background. Apart from the buildings being in great need of maintenance and modernization, the area had social challenges with damage and relatively high unemployment. Tenants experienced insecurity in the neighbourhood and believed that Linero had a bad reputation. At the same time, they enjoyed their residential area and many of them had lived there for a long time. In order to achieve a large change and make Linero more attractive, Lund Municipality Housing Company (Lunds kommuns Fastighets AB) carried out an urban retrofitting of this area with densification projects, retrofitting and modernization. The district development consisted of new passive houses, a renewed town square with shops, pharmacy, a gym, two new tower blocks and the retrofitting of the existing buildings from the 1970s.
Building sustainable and efficient
In Linero focus has been to identify cost-effective measures of energy reduction to prevent a large rent increase, and make sure the tenants can afford to keep living there. 16 buildings of 40,400 m2 with 379 apartments in Linero were part of the energy efficiency action. Before the renovation, the buildings had a high heat demand (~140 kWh/m2Atemp/year), typical for similar buildings. The heating system consisted of district heating with one substation supplying 14 buildings, resulting in large culvert losses between the buildings. The buildings also had indoor comfort problems, with uneven room temperatures between the apartments. To reduce the environmental impact of electricity in Linero, photovoltaics were installed on the six buildings containing DH-substations. The predicted electricity production corresponds to 140,000 kWh/year. Buildings after the retrofitting have an energy performance that resembles the regulation for new buildings (which is 75 kWh/m2Atemp/year).
Before a building retrofit can be performed, tenants must formally agree. Good communication and tenant involvement upfront are therefore keys to the social acceptance of the project. The strategy for the Linero case was to find different ways of interaction with tenants both in formal and informal ways. This was mostly carried out by arranging different events such as meetings, workshops, showings and barbeques. It was immediately clear that being transparent with the information during the whole project is crucial to gain tenants’ trust and reliability for the retrofitting works. Tenants can influence developments for their flats, outdoor areas and other common areas. When they are involved, they feel more motivated and positive about change. Furthermore, they feel gratitude and pride in their residential area and recognise the lower management costs in the long term.
Making Linero a smart district
Kraftringen created Energikollen within the CITyFiED project, an interactive smartphone app to help tenants keep tabs on their energy consumption. As Kraftringen has a utility franchise over the electricity grid in the area, the company can use the collected data for the app. Moreover, all data gathered before the installation of the app is also available. To raise the tenants’ awareness about energy, two home visualisation apps were developed. The apps allow tenants to evaluate their electricity use based on real-time and historical data. A monitor was installed in the common outdoor area of the district. It shows each building’s energy use and ranks each building depending on its monthly energy performance. The purpose is to create a competition among the tenants of each building, thus resulting in increased incentives towards reduced energy use.