Groningen is the capital city of the Groningen province, located in the north of The Netherlands. The city is known for its cultural centre, and historic buildings. Approximately 25% of the total population comprises of students which makes it the country’s demographically youngest city. As of 2021 the city has over 200,000 inhabitants, and is thereby the sixth largest city and municipality in The Netherlands. InCUBE’s demonstration site is located in the Zeeheldenbuurt district near the historic city centre.
Dismantling the building entirely is uneconomical, time consuming and unsustainable option. Therefore, building owners of 1960-1970 apartment buildings are facing the challenge of finding a cost-effective way for deep renovation of these buildings, in a way that the renovated building is future proof and compliant with current demand.
Apartment buildings represents a broader European challenge. In the 1960’s and 70’s a very large amount of affordable family housing was built throughout Europe. Fifty years onwards, most of them are at the end of their economic and technological lifetime. Eight similar apartment buildings owned by Dutch housing association Lefier are in close proximity for which there are future plans for deep renovation and replicating solutions. A total of €12,5M have been secured for renovating the demo building (€9,7M for energy-oriented interventions), whereas the respective amount for the other 8 pre-mentioned buildings is €70M with €54M for energy-oriented interventions. The entire renovation project of one building is expected to last 15 months.
InCUBE will mainly focus on a privately owned apartment building located in the Zeeheldenbuurt district. The building is used for student housing constructed in 1966. It has a total floor area of 9,800 m2 and has over 265 students living in semi-independent apartments sharing a living room and kitchen. The apartment building has a poor energy performance compared to modern day buildings and its apartments require a comprehensive redecoration of the floors, windows, kitchens and bathrooms (including insulation, ventilation, and lighting) to offer its residents a comfortable space to reside. The apartment building was initially designed for family housing. Nowadays, the building is used to house students where apartments are shared by 2-3 students. Each apartment will be redesigned to three semi independent apartments, each one having a bathroom while sharing a living room and kitchen.
InCUBE will strengthen and extend these existing initiatives through several innovative interventions at a building and neighbourhood level:
There is a large amount of highly similar apartment buildings in the Netherlands as 15% of all Dutch households live in similar buildings. As mentioned, the building owner Lefier owns eight similar buildings with a total area of roughly 60,000 m2, an energy consumption of 24,616 MWh/y, and over 2,000 occupants. These buildings also need to be renovated. These building can serve as an excellent testbed for replicating InCUBE solutions, including the potential formation of a Renewable Energy Community, building upon outcomes of the Spanish and Italian demo-sites.