Project Ålidhem: A case study of a sustainable Swedish municipal public housing installation

Project Ålidhem: A case study of a sustainable Swedish municipal public housing installation


Lars Lindbergh, Timothy Wilson and Thomas Olofsson

Organisation of Presenter:

Umea School of Business & Economics, Sweden


Swedish public housing has commanded special international interest and tends to be an aspiration for other countries. That is, at a time when countries struggle to provide adequate public housing, it has been noted, “(Public) housing quality in Sweden is very high by international standards”. Perhaps more importantly, it tends to be self-sustaining. Provision of this housing is controlled by Municipal Public Housing Companies which are the dominating landlords in Swedish rental housing. Some portion of the presentation is given to describing and discussing their operations, which relates to investment, rental negotiations and new public management. More focus, however, is taken to indicate where this sector happens to be presently in management of operations, which happens to be in a refurbishment mode. That is, there comes a time in a building’s life when its proprietor-investors must make the decision of whether money will be reinvested in extending the structure’s life or not. Much of this housing was developed during the 60 and 70s. Buildings with expected useful lives of fifty years built in the 60-70s have now reached the question of refurbishment. In this paper the pilot portion of a refurbishment project conducted within a municipal public housing complex is described and discussed through a case study, Project Alidhem in northern Sweden, which has a significant sustainability objective. The overall energy efficiency goal within the project was a 40-50% reduction in the supplied energy for domestic hot water, building electricity 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. A 43% 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. Refurbishment did not stop with energy and ecological considerations in the pilot installation, but also included refurbishing and refinishing of rental interiors, entrances and stairwells, as well as a glazed-in winter garden for residents.