BEEM-UP Site Alingsas

Country & City: 
  • Sweden
  • Alingsås
Project: 

Brogården in Alingsås is an area of multi-dwelling buildings built in 1971-1973. The area comprises a total of 300 flats, divided into 16 houses with 2-4 floors each. All flats have a balcony or a patio. The Brogården area is currently undergoing an extensive renewal, which started in the spring of 2008.

The building owner, Alingsås, and the contractor, Skanska, brought the last eight blocks of flats (144 dwellings, 14860 m² gross living area) into the BEEM-UP project, in order to develop the processes and solutions for making the retrofitting financially viable on a large scale. The aim was to reduce the very high use of energy.

Brogården is classified by the municipality as an area of conservation value. Therefore, the building materials have been chosen to resemble those of the original building.

The first blocks in the area have been renovated as an initial comprehensive pilot for energy efficient refurbishment towards passive house performance. For the final eight BEEM-UP blocks, the aim was to bring this process up to scale, and develop cost-efficient solutions to make energy efficient refurbishment a viable alternative for the remaining housing stock.

Works started in August 2011 and finished in September 2014.

Technical data

  • Envelope:
    • Walls: previous wall is replaced by new wall with several layers of insulation and slotted steel studs. In total 440 mm insulation.
    • Basement: 100 mm expanded polystyrene extends 1 meter below ground level. 100 mm drainage panel downwards to ground floor.
    • Roof: 400 mm new mineral wool insulation.
  • Windows:  Triple pane window with insulated glass (U-value = 0,85)
  • Heating: Recovery system in combination with district heating.
  • Hot water: District heating as before.
  • Ventilation system: Balanced ventilation with heat recovery. Single unit serves entire building.
  • ICT – energy management (incl. smart meters): Electricity is measured individually; hot water is monitored remotely for each flat; heating is measured for each staircase.
  • Lighting: Low energy fittings. Low energy or halogen lighting and LED lighting in staircases.
  • Renewable Energy Source: District heating. PV on roof and/or walls of 3 buildings
  • Other energy saving: The tenants receive energy-saving tips
Regulatory & Administrative: 

Problem description: 

According to the Swedish legislation, it is not legal to raise rent due to energy efficiency measures, i.e. the costs for a passive house renovation cannot be recovered by a rent increase.

It is, however, fully legal to raise the rent due to ‘improvements to the living standard in the apartment’.

Solutions: 

1: Before the renovation, heating was an important expense item. Due to the passive house technique, the cost for heating became minimal, resulting in radically decreased future expenses.

2: Before the renovation, the household electricity and hot water were included in the rent. After the renovation, these costs were transferred to the tenants (as specified lines on the rent invoice). To charge for the household electricity is normal Swedish procedure and before the renovation the Brogården housing estate was an exception. To charge for the hot water is a new Swedish standard. Owners do not earn any money by charging for water or electricity, however, they are relieved of a significant cost.

3: In order to address a significant thermal bridge, the original indented balconies were moved out in line with the façade. This meant that all apartments gained space of 4 m2. Owners could charge extra rent for the increased space. Owners were also able to create fully accessible bathrooms in all flats and could charge extra rent for accessibility. Furthermore, the deep renovation meant that all flats have new build standard – and thus they could charge extra rent for ‘improvements to the living standard in the apartment’. The fact that the apartments got significantly better indoor climate after the renovation can also be considered as ‘improvements to the living standard’, which makes it eligible for a rent increase.

Social: 

Problem description: 

Engagement of buildings' owners, tenants and their representatives (Associations) in the development of the project

Solutions: 

A crucial element of the successful implementation of the project was the continuous dialogue with the tenants and the good collaboration within the procured partnership.

1: The developer created a showroom apartment and together with the Swedish Union of Tenants held an open house every week for the tenants of the housing complex.

2: A newsletter was distributed once a month with contributions from the building owners Alingsåshem, the Tenants’ Union and the construction company Skanska.

3: In addition, understanding that these were not merely houses, but people’s homes where they tried to continue living their daily lives despite the renovation works made a difference. 

Regulatory & Administrative

Regulatory & Administrative
Country
Problem description
Solution
Sweden

According to the Swedish legislation, it is not legal to raise rent due to energy efficiency measures, i.e. the costs for a passive house renovation cannot be recovered by a rent increase.

It is fully legal to raise the rent due to ‘improvements to the living standard in the apartment’. To overcome the legal obstacle and to demonstrate the improved living standard, the project partners in Sweden came up with a number of creative solutions:  

  • Before the renovation, heating was an important expense item. Due to the passive house technique, the cost for heating became minimal, resulting in radically decreased future expenses.
  • Before the renovation, the household electricity and hot water were included in the rent. After the renovation, these costs were transferred to the tenants (as specified lines on the rent invoice). To charge for the household electricity is normal Swedish procedure and before the renovation the Brogården housing estate was an exception. To charge for the hot water is a new Swedish standard. Owners do not earn any money by charging for water or electricity, however, they are relieved of a significant cost.
  • In order to address a significant thermal bridge, the original indented balconies were moved out in line with the façade. This meant that all apartments gained space of 4 m2. Owners could charge extra rent for the increased space. Owners were also able to create fully accessible bathrooms in all flats and could charge extra rent for accessibility. Furthermore, the deep renovation meant that all flats have new build standard – and thus they could charge extra rent for ‘improvements to the living standard in the apartment’. The fact that the apartments got significantly better indoor climate after the renovation can also be considered as ‘improvements to the living standard’, which makes it eligible for a rent increase.

Technical

Technical
Country
Problem description
Solution
Sweden

The passive house technique requires the slab on ground to be extremely well insulated. In a refurbishment, where the slab is already in the ground, this is not possible as lifting the slab and putting insulation underneath is unfeasible. This was without doubt the biggest technical challenge at Brogården. 

Several different solutions were tried. In the end a floating PIR-insulation on the inside was deemed most efficient. In addition, the slab got a thick layer of insulation put in trenches around each house.

Sweden

The savings expected regarding space heating are largely achieved, while the expectation on the reduction of DHW consumption is not met. The 45 % savings in energy for DHW seemed to be too ambitious, especially as the consumptions are very much dependent on tenants´ behaviour. The discrepancies could also be explained by the fact that the calculations are made with the assumption that the heating and ventilation systems are functioning perfectly. Another explanation for the difference is that the temperature set point used for the predictions’ calculation was 21°C for Brogården, while the real indoor temperatures has been an average of 22-23°C for the year.

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Best Practices

Best Practices
Country

Programme / Policy

Description

Sweden

A crucial element of the successful implementation of the project was the continuous dialogue with the tenants and the good collaboration within the procured partnership. The developer created a showroom apartment and together with the Swedish Union of Tenants held an open house every week for the tenants of the housing complex. A newsletter was distributed once a month with contributions from the building owners Alingsåshem, the Tenants’ Union and the construction company Skanska. In addition, understanding that these were not merely houses, but people’s homes where they tried to continue living their daily lives despite the renovation works made a difference.