Choosing energy-efficient housing 

Bilden visar Vallastaden.

Vallastaden is a developing new neighbourhood in Linköping. Researchers with the Stångåstaden municipal housing company are collaborating on the design of the projected properties so as to be able to analyse how energy-efficient choices are made and on what premises. The aim of this is to increase knowledge of how and why energy-efficient choices are made, by both professionals during the planning phase, and by residents, when they have an opportunity to choose, for example, energy-efficient furnishings. 

In one section of the Vallastaden area, the Stångåstaden housing company will erect four row houses and 34 rental units distributed in two properties, while in another section, 31 rental units distributed in two properties. One property is being built as a surplus energy building and one as an "ordinary" property – that is, a building that adheres to the prevailing standards. In terms of appearance, the buildings will be quite similar. We work with various choice situations and choice possibilities in order to analyse and evaluate how different energy choices are made under different conditions. We will compare how the construction processes for the different buildings are actually designed. What is presented as key energy choices in the planning processes of the two buildings? What measures and solutions are considered in the various construction processes? When the buildings are ready, we will attend a meeting with potential tenants and observe how the units are presented and what these potential tenants and subsequent tenants focus on as important for whether or not they opt for the surplus energy building. 

Low-energy alternatives

We will also develop four interior décor concepts from which the future tenants will be invited to choose. One concept will be a low-energy alternative while the others will represent a normal energy standard. We will then let the tenants make their choices, to understand how and why certain choices are made. In one set of flats no choices will be possible – there, everything will be chosen in advance, from flooring to WC ceramic tiles – to enable us to compare the tenants' views and reactions regarding the lack of choices.
A third focus of the project is future housing. One flat has full flexibility and can be adapted to different family constellations, including the flexible family that may vary in size – for example, if the children reside in the home on alternate weeks. We will analyse the choices the tenants want to have in a flat and how energy-efficient solutions can be integrated in future housing solutions. The aim of the project is to be able in the future to design more knowledge-based processes – processes that encourage and favour energy-efficient choices.

Funding provided by the Swedish Energy Agency, IQ Samhällsbyggnad and Stångåstaden.