Sustainable Järva

City   City of Stockholm
City Planning Department and Svenska Bostäder, the city-owned housing authority which owns the buildings. 

Municipal Government and associated housing authority. With national funding through Swedish Government’s Delegation for Sustainable Cities Initiative.

Typology & Function

Leading case typology

   Leading case function



   Industrial, services, etc.

Main Targets

  • To half energy consumption from 188 kWh/m2/year to 90 kWh/m2/year in 350 apartments owned by Stockholm’s public housing authority;
  • To use national funding to implement a pilot project that will be directly rolled-out into a more widespread green retrofit plan for 5,600 apartments in the surrounding area;
  • According to Svenska Bostäder 2010 report the improvement of energy efficiency by 52% would save SEK 86/m2, provided that energy costs change in proportion to energy consumption.

Sustainable Järva project is part of the work of rehabilitation Järva’s under the Swedish “Million Homes” programme. It’s an environmental, socially and economically sustainable development for all the Järvafältet surrounding districts. Under a five-year period, the rehabilitation project will cover six buildings (350 apartments) of the most common types of residential apartment blocks – balcony-access blocks, high-rise apartment blocks and slab blocks – in order to test two different renovation methods – traditional renovation versus the use of prefabricated façade elements.

With the completion of the project scheduled for 2014, all the tested methods will be evaluated in environmental, economic, and cultural terms, in order to be replicated on an industrial scale on Svenska Bostäder’s entire stock under the Million Programme buildings initiative, scheduled for proceeding the renovation process before 2022.


Sustainable Järva context

The City of Stockholm, together with their own publically-owned housing authority Svenska Bostäder, has begun tackling perhaps its biggest hurdle (but also its greatest potential) in the pursuit of a truly green built environment – the region’s incredible stock of apartments from the Million Homes Programme.

The Million Homes programme was a national initiative from the 1960’s to provide Swedish citizens with improved housing conditions. Under the socialist government, 1,000,000 homes of various types were constructed in approximately ten years during the 1960’s, adding over 600,000 homes to the national housing stock. While these homes are of various types, the most contested are the apartment “superblocks” – 10-15 storey apartments with upwards of 250 units per building.

In addition to now being over 40 years old, these buildings were poorly constructed and in Stockholm, like many other parts of Sweden, have become the home of socially marginalised residents. By some accounts, the unemployment rate of neighbourhoods in the Sustainable Järva area exceeds 30%.

Green retrofitting

However, with the City of Stockholm’s aim to become increasingly carbon neutral, Sustainable Järva is an investment in ecologically, socially and economically sustainable development. Using a national grant, the city is in the process of retrofitting 350 apartments with energy improvements including new facades, solar PV, and lighting, together with interior and exterior upgrades. Not only will energy demand be reduced from an average of 188 kWh/m2/year to 90 kWh/m2/year, the pilot project will be expanded to 5,600 surrounding apartments by 2022. It is also being done in a socially prudent way, with residents being provided alternative housing during the retrofit and additional community planning actions being undertaken to support more sustainable energy use and mobility.

Sustainable Järva is a good example of how relatively small amounts of policy funds can be used to initiate much greater actions toward green building. It also reflects the fact that these modernist apartments blocks are part of a stock of literally millions of apartments of the same type which must be renovated for Europe to reach it long term goals for energy efficiency.