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Ambitious Upgrading of Post-war Multi-residential Buildings: Participation as a Driver for Energy Efficiency and Universal Design


The post-war multi-residential buildings form a considerable part of the building stock in Norway. At the same
time, this part of the building stock is facing considerable challenges in relation to upgrading. This paper
presents results from the analysis of seven case studies of the upgrading process of post-war multi-residential
buildings that have been part of the research project REBO. The analysis is based on a multi-disciplinary
approach. In the project as a whole, it has been important to maintain a holistic approach and representatives of
the different work-packages and research disciplines have cooperated closely. The overall perspective is to
highlight characteristics and lessons that can be learned from the separate case studies. The case studies consist
of multi-residential buildings that have been or are in the process of being upgraded (to passive house standard
and/or in other ways ambitiously upgraded). The cases vary in type of residents, building typology, range of
upgrading and chosen technical solutions. By studying how different ambitions are handled in actual examples,
we draw conclusions on how they relate to each other. Initially, the intention was to study cases focusing on
energy efficiency, universal design and user participation, but such projects were difficult to find. However, our
results show that there seems to be no reason not to combine ambitious renovation in these three areas in this
context. On the contrary, different ambitions could well be beneficial for each other. Especially ambitious user
participation offers great potential as a ‘driver’ for the other two. To introduce ambitious goals is important and
the earlier in the process this is done, the better. We suggest that it should be a priority to contact housing
cooperatives and house owners that are in the process of upgrading, and make sure extensive ambitions in
relation to energy efficiency and universal design are placed on the agenda. As help, a database of likely
candidates should be established. In addition, it is essential to create a sense of ownership to the process
amongst the inhabitants. It is generally more difficult to get support for ambitious measures in relation to
universal design than it is for energy efficiency, but pinpointing an actual user need may facilitate this. In
general, it is a beneficial to include less expensive measures in relation to universal design in connection to
other upgrading measures. A handbook in which combinable measures are gathered and presented is also


Academic chapter/article/Conference paper




  • Erica Löfström


  • SINTEF Community / Architectural Engineering




Akademika forlag


PassivhusNorden 2012



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