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Residential Renovation towards nearly zero energy CITIES

Saving a Monster: Retrofitting of Social Housing

In Genoa, Italy, there are tenants who only pay as little as €50 in rent for a small apartment in a social housing estate, but this is only part of the story.

Saving a Monster: Retrofitting of Social Housing

They live in a 1970s building complex bundling where they all have to share the energy costs of their significantly inefficient building. These running costs are unreasonable and have been known to reach five times the rent level. The estate is known as Lavatrici, or washing machines in Italian, due to its unique shape, but the local inhabitants call it the monster.

To tackle this, the city of Genoa is participating in the R2CITIES project. The aim of this European project is to develop replicable retrofitting strategies to cut energy consumption by 50%. These strategies will later be used to construct and manage large scale district renovation projects worldwide.

Lavatrici is one of three different building complexes receiving retrofitting measures under the project. The savings in CO2 emissions and in energy consumption in these buildings will act as a benchmark for future projects – thus showing how to turn smart city ideas into reality.


By Ute de Groot

12 July 2016