The Swedish community of Falkenberg with 40.000 inhabitants is one of the leading and most ambitious municipalities regarding re-generative energy systems. Falkenberg aims to cut its energy consumption of 1/4 within the CONCERTO core area, by using different techniques of Energy Efficiency (EE) and new methods of clean energy production.
Site facts and figures
- Estimated population involved: 20,551
- Approx. geographical area coverage: 240 km²
- Approx. energy saving: 24,3%
- Approx. energy from RES: 65%
Four multi-story low-energy buildings at “Växthuset” with 108 apartments have been built in 2008 and were the first designed according to passive house standards at Falkenberg. They have a mechanical ventilation system, use large façade-integrated solar air collectors for preheating the supply air and have a smart box in each apartment for regulation and for user information (Picture 1). The estimated energy demand for hot water and heating was 45 kWh/m²a and monitoring of the first two buildings showed the consumption being even lower (34-36 kWh/m²a).
Two residential building blocks with 11,832 and 3,182 m² have been refurbished. The first estate “Linsen and Lövet” had been built between 1954 and 1962 and the energy consumption was 165 kWh/m²a (Picture 2). Measures at the ventilation and heating system (installing thermostats) have been taken, a heat pump has been installed at the exhaust air duct and an overall control system was implemented. A reduction of consumption by 25% could be reached. The second estate “Passaren” dates from 1970 and showed an annual heat consumption of 180 kWh/m²a. The windows were replaced, a new ventilation system was installed and an overall control system was implemented here as well. An energy saving of 30 percent could be reached.
More than 900 m² of solar thermal systems have been installed on private houses, almost 500 m² solar air collectors were implemented and 100 pellet boilers replaced former fossil (oil) systems.
Since 2007 five wind turbines of 2.3 MW each at the Lövstaviken Windpark produce 25 GWh of electricity per year (Picture 3). The hub height is 64 m and the rotor diameter is 71 m, so that the turbine is 100 m tall. The wind park reduces CO2-emissions by 24,000 tons each year.
One large district heating system at Falkenberg and two small systems at Vessigebro and Ullared have been extended and monitored within the CONCERTO activities. More than 500 buildings are connected to the large district heating system at Falkenberg and consume 51.5 GWh per year. 93 Percent come from renewable energy sources. In the village of Ullared 22 customers are connected to a new small scale district heating using wood pellets. In 2009, 1,950 MWh of heat were delivered. In Vessigebro 23 customers are connected to the district heating system fuelled by wood briquettes. The capacity of the bio-fuelled boiler is fully used. In 2009, 3,390 MWh of heat were delivered. In total the annual delivery was increased by 14 GWh within the CONCERTO initiative. A heat pump with a maximum heat power of 2.1 MW complemented an existing heating network. It utilized waste water of a temperature between 20 and 30°C. In 2006 the COP was 2.42. The maximum water output temperature is 82°C.
New Building “Växthuset”
The four low energy multi-story houses with 108 apartments are the first in Falkenberg designed according to passive building principles (Picture 4). The goal for energy use for heat and hot water was 45 kWh/m²a. Monitoring of the first 2 buildings, which had been finalized in November 2008, shows an energy use for heat and hot water of 34 – 36 kWh/m²a. When including the electricity for building services, the need is 47 kWh/m²a, that is less than half of the accepted demand for new buildings in Sweden.
A smart box with touch screen display in every flat encourages tenants to keep track of their energy consumption. The staircase façade facing south is a solar-air collector that preheats the ventilation air. Good indoor climate and pleased tenants were two important criteria for the housing company “Fabo”. A questionnaire among the tenants shows that these could really be achieved.
Other housing companies, consultants and descision makers from large parts of Sweden have shown a great interest in the project. The project has paved way for low energy buildings to be the standard in the future buildings not only for the owner “Fabo”.
The following facts show the ambition:
- Twice as much insulation as an ordinary building
- Windows and doors: U-value 0,9 W/m²K
- Floor: U-value 0,08 W/m²K
- Walls: U-value 0,10 W/m²K
- Roof: U-value 0,074 W/m²K
- Connected to district heating
- Air-solar collector
- Costs: 21 700 kr/m² ≈ 2 060 Euro/m²
The building „Linsen and Lövet“ has 178 apartments and sums to 11,832 m² in total (Picture 5). It was built from 1954 to 1962 and had a specific energy consumption of 165 kWh/m²a before the refurbishment. The retrofit measures contained changing of culverts and thermostats as well as optimizing the heating and ventilation system. Additionally heat pumps have been installed and connected to the exhaust air fan systems.
An internet-based overall control system (manufacturer: Regin) controls and measures all relevant parameters. The possible energy saving was calculated at 30%, the first monitoring results show a measured reduction of 25.4 percent (Diagram 1).
Wind Power Plant
Since March 2007 five new wind turbines, 2.3 MW each, near the sea-shore of Falkenberg at Lövstaviken have generated in average 27-30 GWh of renewable electricity per year (Picture 6). This equals to the electricity consumption of about 7,000 households. The park is owned by Falkenberg Municipality, the turbines are located quite near the town center and have been the first in Falkenberg larger than 1 MW.
Both the location and the size provide valuable planning input for a large offshore park of 30 turbines, located about 8 km from the shore. Once the offshore park is realized, the demand of electrical Energy in Falkenberg will be covered at 100% by wind power. When taken in operation the turbines increased the nominal output of wind power in Falkenberg by 80%. Now, three years later the output is doubled, since several new turbines have been taken in operation in Falkenberg.
The wind turbines at Lövstaviken have no mechanical gearboxes. Electrical energy is generated in a so-called low-speed generator, which can produce electricity even at low speed, being at least 2.5 m/s. The generator also has varying speeds. This means that the generated current frequency varies with the speed of the rotor. This current is converted to DC and then to AC before it is fed into the grid. The five large turbines have been monitored within CONCERTO for three years and are monitored online by the operator continuously (www.vindstat.nu).
The following information has been gathered as part of the CONCERTO Premium policy research.
Benefits of CONCERTO:
The biggest success was that more new low-energy buildings could be built than originally planned Energy in Minds had a big influence on the municipality, in particular on how the municipality sees EU-projects as possibility to develop activities with international cooperation.
Experiences and results have been spread by guided tours to demonstration sites, at regional and national seminars and conferences. Research on the used renewable technologies - solar air applications, small scale CHP, evaluation of low energy buildings and small scale district heating have increased knowledge and means to apply these technologies. The four low energy multi-story houses with 108 apartments are the first in Falkenberg designed according to passive building principles. The goal for energy use for heat and hot water was 45 kWh/m²a. Monitoring of the first 2 buildings that were finalized in November 2008, shows an energy use for heat and hot water of 34 – 36 kWh/m²a. Electricity for building services included, the need is 47 kWh/m²a, that is less than half of the accepted demand for new builds in Sweden.
Subsidies for households improving their energy efficiency enabled the realization of a coherent approach. The actions within Energy in Minds contributed to two of the national environmental quality objectives: Reduced Climate Impact and A Good Built Environment.
There was weak supported from energy policy. Therefore, the municipality tried to push for higher energy standards in new buildings as voluntary measures.
General lack of experience e.g. model projects, data, benchmarking. A heat pump installed as part of a DH scheme had lots of technical problems and did not perform as expected as the waste water was found to contain less heat than expected. It would not have been economical for local energy company to repair it. As a result, this part of the Energy in Minds project had to be abandoned.
Limited financial and human resources available, especially in initial phase.
Success factors identified:
Social Success factors:
The municipal energy company was used for spreading information, as information was sent out together with their bills.
A smart box, touch screen display, in every flat encouraged tenants to keep track of their energy consumption. The staircase facade facing south is a solar-air collector that preheats the ventilation air. Good indoor climate and pleased tenants were two important criteria for Fabo, the housing company. The local policy for wind power seeks to gather turbines to large parks. Thus landscape and the natural and cultural environment were spared from being over exploited and a common acceptance for wind power was obtained.
The annual Energy Day with exhibitions and lectures significantly contributed to a growing interest for renewable energy. By adding activities such as quiz competitions, music performances, these events aimed to engage not only the usual male part of households but the whole family. Especially for the small scale solar thermal installations these events were of importance as solar panels are usually not much marketed and exhibited by installers. During the first two years, the interest in solar thermal installation by private persons was quite low but in the end the goal of 800 m² was even exceeded and 268 more households can today enjoy the heat from the sun in their homes.
Institutional success factors:
A new regional energy agency has been established. Municipal authority engaged building constructor as a third party, strong commitment, excellent stakeholder mix and their engagement from the beginning. The project was well planned and therefore ran relatively smoothly.
Economic success factors:
Investments in wind farms benefit from the national green certificates system. Interest in wind energy rises. The price of wood chips is very low in Sweden and this makes biomass systems very attractive compared to other technologies.
CONCERTO objectives were in line with and reinforced by national environmental quality objectives, in particular “reduced climate impact” and “good built environment”.
Legacy – follow-on projects:
The five wind turbines installed within the Energy in Minds project provided valuable planning input for a large offshore park with 30 turbines, about 8 km out to sea.
New private low-energy houses: 10 built under EIM - The contractor of the new low-energy houses built within EiM was so convinced of the low energy concept that when he build houses for sale in his own company, these were built with the same energy performance, that is far better than the national requirements. During EiM, about ten apartments in terraced house were built. In total the housing area was planned for 84 apartments in detached houses, terraced houses and small multifamily houses.
Other housing companies, consultants and decision makers from large parts of Sweden showed a great interest in the project. The project was paved way for low energy buildings to be the standard in the future buildings not only within Fabo the housing company.
The buildings had also paved way for private entrepreneurs to use the low energy solutions in a housing project of 87 flats in detached houses, terraced houses and multi- family buildings. Also when public buildings was built, a higher energy performance was required than the present national regulations demands.
Legacy - Policy Developments:
A new “energy plan” was compiled after end of project. This was an action plan for municipality addressing first and foremost their own buildings, but with a certain outreach remit to the community.
As Energy in Minds proved that better standards are realistic, local recommendations for energy standards had become more ambitions (for new municipality owned buildings end use of heat and domestic hot water is 50 kWh/m²,a (housing) and 75 in public buildings).
The CONCERTO approach
In Falkenberg specific innovation was the full scale integration of innovative solar air systems. Implementing a system of energy check for 10-20% of private houses in Falkenberg, in addition to the energy conscious renovation of 30 private houses and 180 apartments aids this community to reach its objectives for the EE, via efficient monitoring. Passive houses have been built for 120 apartments in seven buildings
Increasing the use of RES in the Falkenberg community foresees the connection of different initiatives:
- The conversion of oil to pellet furnaces in 100 private homes.
- The construction of 5 large 2,3 MW wind power plants which produce about 29 GWh per year.
- The installation of 800 m² of solar panels in private homes and the installation of 500 m² solar air collectors in new multifamily houses and existing public building.
- The optimization of the bio fuelled district heating net allowing more buildings to be connected.
- The establishment of new small scale district heating systems using bio fuel in two villages.
Since March 2007, five new wind turbines near the sea shore of Falkenberg generate almost 30 GW h renewable electricity per year. This is equal to the annual requirement of 7.000 households. The turbines provide valuable planning input for a large offshore park with 30 turbines, about 8 km out to sea. Once the plan will be realised, electricity generated by wind power in Falkenberg will correspond to the annual power demand of the municipality.