Linero, a district of Lund in southern Sweden, is a successful smart city upgrade project focused on improving around 800 apartments built in the 1970s to create more energy-efficient, eco-friendly housing.
Half of the buildings have been retrofitted as part of CITyFiED, an EU project based on a mix of demonstration technologies, renewable energy technologies and sound business models to achieve the sustainable development of cities. Energy efficiency measures include facade renovation, district heating, solar power, smart grid technology and a monitoring platform. The second half of the upgrade built on experience from the CITyFiED project and improved the buildings further.
A complete makeover of Linero
Linero has a mixed population in terms of age, education level, economy and ethnic background. The buildings were in great need of renovation and modernisation. The area also had social challenges with property damage , unemployment and crime in the neighbourhood. In addition, the residents are fond of their district and many have lived there for a long time. To upgrade Linero and make it more attractive, the municipal housing company carried out a refurbishment project involving densification and modernisation of the area, including new ‘passive’ buildings, a renovated town square with shops, a pharmacy, gym, two new tower blocks and retrofitting of the existing buildings from the 1970s.
Sustainable and efficient buildings
The energy efficiency measures encompassed 16 buildings with 379 apartments. Before renovation, the properties had high heating demand typical of older buildings. The district heating system had one substation supplying 14 buildings, resulting in significant culvert losses between the buildings, which also had problems with uneven indoor temperatures. To reduce the environmental impact of electricity usage in Linero, solar panels were installed on the six buildings, with substations for district heating . Following the retrofit, energy performance is in line with regulations for new buildings.
The development of smart cities also includes economic and social sustainability. So identifying cost-effective energy reduction solutions is not only an environmental issue; it also aims to prevent large rent increases so that tenants can afford to stay.
Involving the tenants
Before a building retrofit can be performed, tenants have to formally agree. Good communication and tenant involvement upfront are key to the acceptance of the project. The strategy for Linero was to interact with tenants in both formal and informal ways, through meetings, workshops, viewings and barbeques. It was immediately clear that being transparent with information throughout the project is crucial to gain tenants’ trust in the project. Tenants can also influence the renovation of their flats, as well as outdoor areas and other communal spaces. Involving tenants makes them more receptive to the change, and encourages pride in the neighbourhood, which reduces maintenance costs in the long term.
Encouraging tenants to reduce energy consumption
Another part of the CITyFiED project is Energikollen, a smartphone app that helps tenants track their energy consumption to raise awareness of how every household can make a difference. A monitor installed in the district’s communal outdoor space shows each building’s energy use and ranks them based on their monthly energy performance. This creates competition among tenants, providing further motivation to reduce energy use. To sum up, Linero is a good example of many small measures that add up to a significant impact in creating a smart city for the future.