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Tartu’s smart city project that people can really relate to

Thousands of apartment blocks across Estonia were built in the 1950s as temporary housing. Now an EU project in Tartu is transforming some into sustainable housing as part of a sustainable cities initiative.

The legacy of Tartu’s communist past can be found in the 100 ‘khrushchyovka’ apartment blocks across the Estonian city. Nicknamed after Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev they were created from the 1950s onwards as temporary accommodation to deal with a chronic post-war housing shortage, Deutsche Welle writes.

According to the project’s website, its goal is to make the city environment smart and sustainable, to inspire people to make environmentally conscious decisions and to be easily replicable in other European cities as well.

The key activity in the project is renovating the old Soviet apartment buildings in the Tartu downtown area into energy-efficient and modern houses.

Beyond retrofitting

As the apartment blocks were not built with efficiency in mind, according to Raimond Tamm, Deputy Mayor of Tartu and the city’s SmartEnCity project leader, the ambitious project goes beyond the usual retrofitting activities the city has seen. He estimates if it is successful each apartment block will save two thirds of the energy they currently use. This means shifting from 270 kilowatt-hours per square meter per year (kWh/m2y) for each building to 90 kWh/m2y.

According to Veronika Mooses, a junior researcher at Tartu University, while there will also be new cycle lanes and bike sharing stations, buses running on biogas, and LED motion sensor street lighting which will also monitor air pollution, the part of the project that has really grabbed people’s attention is the use of smart technology at home. “People can really relate to this project,” she said.

Being able to monitor their own energy consumption and rethink their personal patterns of behavior through smart home systems, has made being more eco-friendly tangible in everyday life.

Estonia has unparalleled track record applying technology

Estonia has an unparalleled track record of applying technology to create efficiency and improve user experience. The first country in the world to implement smart parking, today our smart apps and ticketing systems are widely used across the Nordic region.

Thanks to high-speed digital infrastructure and use of location technologies, Estonia has become a leader in telematics. Cutting edge collaboration between our emergency services, Google, Tele2, Telia and Elisa accurately pinpoints callers in seconds, allowing lives to be saved. In March 2017, Estonia legalised the testing of autonomous vehicles in the country.

Read more about the opportunities Estonia has to offer in the smart cities sector or ask us for more information in a request for e-consulting.

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