The research has received funding from the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement n° [314363].

Four  voices on ZenN – different actors with complementing  perspectives

In  order to achieve the desired holistic approach towards energy retrofitting, a  wide range of dedicated participants is essential for the success of a project  such as ZenN. Representing the variety of participants, a few of our project  members give their views on the projects potential and their  expectations. 

Kerstin Rubenson, City of Malmö, project manager:
The demonstration sites in Malmö are in the need of refurbishment, and the owners are highly interested in turning their property into energy-efficient buildings. ZenN provides the opportunity to make this happen, and to evaluate which measures that are relevant to include when other buildings are being renovated. I hope that the project leads to better knowledge on what a nearly zero energy building is, and to packages of measures that can be used in different circumstances. For the city of Malmö, getting good examples on how to turn existing multi-family houses into low-energy buildings is valuable when communicating with other property owners. Also, it is a way for us to reach our emission-reduction targets. So far, we have not seen a lot of existing post-war multi-family houses succeed in large energy-reduction refurbishment projects. There is of course a risk that we will not reach all the way, but we will gain valuable knowledge and insight.

Lindängen Neighborhood: Olof Andersson (CEO) and Mattias Lundborg (manager) at real estate company Trianon
What are your expectations regarding the ZenN project?
For us, participating in the ZenN-project provides us with the opportunity to carry out more extensive energy saving measures than would have been feasible without ZenN. As a rule, energy saving measures of up to 50% are not economically viable to us, but with the aid of the ZenN project we will have the opportunity to coordinate regular maintenance operations with more or less advanced energy efficiency measures. Rather than a number of separate efforts, we have the opportunity to take an holistic approach to refurbishment and energy-efficiency.

What are the potential challenges?
Trianon is a small real estate company, both in terms of personnel as well as in property holdings. Therefore, participating in the ambitious ZenN-project will be a challenge for us. On the other hand, being part of the project will be very instructive and raise the level of knowledge within our company.

In what way will it affect the residents of the demonstration buildings?
The residents will experience an increased level of comfort in the apartments, for example thermal comfort will be improved by the windows replacement. Furthermore, the introduction of individual metering and billing of hot water consumption will make it possible for residents to influence their rent. Today, the level of hot water usage in these buildings is quite high, and as residents learn how to limit their usage of hot water they will see an impact on their rent.

Esther Zarrabeitia, Project manager, the Local Development Agency of Debabarrena (Debegesa)
Can you tell us something more about the demonstration site and why the project is relevant to it?
The retrofitting programme of the neighbourhood of Mogel is a project on which we, the Urban Society of Rehabilitation of Debabarrena, have been working intensively for many years, while the residents have been striving to meet their goals for even longer. We haven’t had any previous experience in this dimension, and because of that we want to be able to succeed in this project. The beginning of work is a great milestone in the process of retrofitting the neighbourhood. The project is now a reality for us, but mainly for all the residents. Work in halls 1 and 9 started in June, and twenty months of works are expected to be carried out in groups of halls.

What are your expectations regarding the ZenN project?
The ZenN project will enable us to know similar experiences, which can be useful so as to solve problems that have arisen or may arise. It is really important to assess others experiences from a different point of view so that we can solve our problems, which in many cases will be similar. Furthermore, we would like to replicate this project in other neighbourhoods of the region, that’s why we hope we will learn as much as we can from this pilot programme. On the other hand, the ZenN programme has been added from Europe to facilitate economic viability to our project. We are working on it for ages and we must say that the economic issue has always been the key. Up to now, we had not achieved such a good economic offer for the particular interests of the neighbours.

What are the potential advantages and opportunities of participating in the project?
The ZenN programme will enable us to learn about similar experiences and solutions that are being developed in other European countries. Thus, we will gain first-hand knowledge regarding how the problems that we have in Mogel are solved in other places.

What do you believe to be the projects greatest challenges?
The greatest challenge for the project will be to achieve the complete retrofitting of the neighbourhood of Mogel. Given the current economic status, the initial challenge was to gain the majority support of the residents. The grants that the programme provides for the owners of the dwellings are the key for the economic viability of the project. Our current economic status is really complicated. The local unemployment rate is very high and the project involves a working-class neighbourhood. Apart from that, we hope the halls that did not join the project will do so in the near future, once they see the improvements that have been obtained.

Joseba Aldalur, resident representative of the Mogul neighborhood
What are your expectations regarding the ZenN project and your participation in it?
The current neighbourhood-committee of the neighbourhood of Mogel and I, as its representative, have since 2006 been working to improve the accessibility of the neighbourhood and our homes. We have managed to eliminate existing architectural barriers of the halls by means of the installation of three escalators, many ramps and a public lift. Everything has been achieved after many meetings with the responsible of the Eibar City Council. Once accessibility to the neighbourhood was a reality, we wanted to ensure the accessibility to our homes by installing lifts inside all the halls. In 2011, we were informed by the Eibar City Council and Debegesa about the possibility of launching a complete retrofitting project which would incorporate the improvement of the energy efficiency of our buildings. This idea was of paramount importance for us from the beginning. ZenN is a complete pilot project which proposed the opportunity to gain some special grants not only from the Basque Government but also from a European Programme and a good economic offer for the particular interests of our neighbours. As a result, we managed to mobilize most of our residents. The ZenN Programme has facilitated the economic viability of our project, and learning about the experiences of other countries can help us solve problems may arise in the process. Thanks to this project, our neighbourhood will be at the first level of residential quality.

How did you get in touch with the project?
The Eibar City Council and Debegesa got in touch with us and we thought it was an outstanding opportunity.

What advantages are you hoping for your neighborhood?
Our neighbourhood will change entirely. We will be in the top ten of the neighbourhoods of Eibar, surpassing many others in energy efficiency, comfort and life quality.

What are the projects greatest challenges?
Our challenge is to achieve the complete retrofitting of the Mogel neighbourhood. Given the current economic situation, the first great challenge has been to obtain the majority support of the neighbours. We clearly know that this will be an intensive work process and that difficulties will arise, however, we must not forget our ultimate goal. We want to keep on living in our neighbourhood with the highest possible energy efficiency, comfort and life quality rate. I that those halls which did not supported the project will join it after seeing the improvements that have been achieved with the complete retrofitting works. Then, our goal will be reached.

Updated: 2013-09-10

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