Reflections on sustainable Ålidhem

Lars Lindbergh (Umeå School of Business and Economics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)
Thomas Olofsson (Department of Applied Physics and Electronics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)
Jimmy Vesterberg (Department of Applied Physics and Electronics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)
Staffan Andersson (Department of Applied Physics and Electronics, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)
Timothy L. Wilson (Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden)

Property Management

ISSN: 0263-7472

Publication date: 16 April 2018

Abstract

Purpose

This work is initiated under the premise that reliable evaluation methods are necessary to ensure investments in energy conservation, and the purpose of this paper is to contribute to that literature. It describes some pilot changes and their impact in an actual field study oriented toward upgrading municipal public housing (MPH) units.

Design/methodology/approach

The research for this paper was connected to an MPH refurbishment project situated in northern Sweden. The overall energy efficiency goal within the project was a 40-50 percent reduction in the supplied energy for central electricity, domestic hot water and space heating. In order to evaluate if these goals were feasible, a measurement system was installed in a pilot building and in a neighboring building used as a reference. The evaluation was conducted by comparing the post-retrofit performance of the pilot building with the performance of the reference building when it was kept in its initial state (a comparison possible because both buildings had initial similarities).

Findings

Impacts could be quantified insofar as a reference (control) building in the same environment was sustained for comparison purposes. A 43 percent improvement was observed in energy utilization in the pilot building compared to its reference companion (99.8 vs 174.5 kWh/m2 per year). When the approach described herein was applied to new construction, the present goal of 65 kWh/m2 was approached as measured by Swedish standards.

Practical implications

Results should be of interest to academics in the housing field, professionals involved in refurbishment and residents themselves, renting MPH flats.

Originality/value

This study is unique in the following ways: first, it really was a field experiment with a control, thus it did not have any exogenous interference in interpreting results. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study of its kind. The second interesting characteristic was that results were subsequently used in the refurbishment of other buildings in the complex and in the construction of others. The major value of the paper may be associated with its timing. It comes at a time when the Kyoto agreement has raised concerns about sustainability, but also at a time when many buildings are facing a need for refurbishment.

Keywords

Citation

Lindbergh, L., Olofsson, T., Vesterberg, J., Andersson, S. and Wilson, T. (2018), "Reflections on sustainable Ålidhem", Property Management, Vol. 36 No. 2, pp. 203-220. https://doi.org/10.1108/PM-04-2016-0017

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Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited

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