Massive energy renovation project in Aarhus

City of Aarhus

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Arhus is Denmark’s 2nd largest city and the  financial centre of the Central Denmark Region. The city has a catchment area of 1.2 million people within a one-hour travel range and is well connected to Copenhagen and Hamburg.

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By Louise Høenhof Rasmussen, December 12, 2014

Energy-renovation, low temperature district heating, solar energy and integration of wind energy will all be used to demonstrate how existing homes can be active contributors to meeting 100% of our energy needs from sustainable sources. The project is being financed by the EU’s Smart City initiative and project partners.

Boligforeningen Ringgården (a local housing association), the City Council and other partners will receive DKK 83 million in subsidies from the EU for a project that will study opportunities for energy-renovation of apartments in an area supplied by district heating. The objective is to achieve greater flexibility for heat supply and lower energy consumption, making it possible for energy to be derived from wind, sun and biofuels.

The Resource Efficient Cities implementing ADvanced smart CitY solutions (READY) is an analysis and demonstration project in which the innovative solutions of a number of enterprises will be analysed by Aarhus University and put into practice in the suburb of Hasle.

“We believe the project can help identify fundamental ways of conducting energy renovation and supply.  I regard the subsidy from the EU’s Smart Cities pool as an indication that Aarhus not only has a large number of innovative businesses and organisations, but that our climate policy is ambitious enough to generate real results,” says Kristian Würtz, Councillor for Technical Services and Environment.

Not just hot air
One of the main partners in the project is Aarhus University, where Steffen Petersen heads a research group for indoor climate and energy. He states that one of the specific aims of the project is to come up with ideas that can be put into practice once the project is completed.

“Aarhus University expects its involvement in the project to produce research-based development of concepts and technologies that can be directly employed in conversion to sustainable energy sources. The close relationship between research and industry means that there is a very great likelihood that we will develop usable, standard solutions that can be used in other projects of the same scale,” says Petersen.

His views are backed up by Pia Kvorning, Project Coordinator at COWI, consultant engineers for the project.

“The aim of the project is to show the way for how the ideas demonstrated can be put into practice in full scale at some point in the future. That this will happen is highly likely given that many of the ideas have already been proven – what’s new is the way we integrate them into the overall energy system,” she says.

Practical trials
An important element of the project is to move trials out of the laboratory and into the home. Boligforeningen Ringgården, a housing association with a long track record of building energy-efficient homes, is also involved. The association’s primary role is to see how the various ideas actually work in practice.

“We look forward to working with a number of dynamic partners to realise opportunities for trying out the latest technological advances within construction with regard to optimising energy efficiency in a couple of our renovation jobs,” says Ringgården director, Palle Jørgensen.
According to Jørgensen, there is also a lot of potential in READY’s focus on wide-ranging development of energy production on a local scale, to build up experience that can be to the benefit of manufacturers and consumers.

“Thanks to our policy of being a first mover within energy-efficient solutions, we have already found on a number of occasions that advanced technology can quickly become the standards of yesteryear. The key factors in this instance are courage, collaboration and opportunity. The partners in the project have the courage, collaboration is a condition and READY gives the team the financial means to realise its visions” concludes Jørgensen.


  • The EU funds are linked to completion of the project, and will be granted once the contract has been signed by the parties involved and an EU representative.
  • It will run over a 5 year period from 2014 to 2019.
  • READY is part of a twin project, with the other half running in the local authority of Växjö in Sweden. The total grant from the EU amounts to DKK 143 million from the EU’s Smart City initiative, designed to develop and demonstrate the Smart City technologies of the future in practice.


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