Innsbruck: how to combine 100 individuals’ needs in a successful renovation process

Picture: NHT - Fennerstraße / Oswald-Redlich Straße


In Innsbruck, energy efficient building renovation is a collective challenge. For the city, educating citizens to understand the benefits of refurbishing their homes is a priority. Within the Sinfonia project, several renovation projects have been carried out in some of the city’s social housing, giving the staff from Neue Heimat Tirol (NHT) - one of the major Austrian building contractors - the opportunity to move from theory to practice. The first successful renovation carried out within the project took place in two building blocks at the corner of the Fennerstraße and Oswald-Redlich Straße in Innsbruck. In this building of nearly 7,000 square meters from the 20th century, energy consumption was reduced by 30 to 40% following the last renovation project carried out by NHT.


“Involving residents in the refurbishment process to secure their support and active participation in the project has always been the core wish of Sinfonia partners in Innsbruck”, says Gerda Maria Embacher, Manager of the project for NHT. To do so, dialogue has been engaged since the early beginning of the project to discuss resident’s needs and expectations. Apart from building insulation, measures agreed with occupants included the purchase of new gas boilers, the addition of roof-top solar panels, as well as the installation of three centralised ventilation systems. This last measure was indeed one of the most challenging to implement, since residents chose to stay in their apartments during the renovation. Therefore, ventilation could not be installed in all apartments at the same time, but today, already one third of the building residents are connected to the new system.

Picture: NHT - Renovation works Fennerstraße / Oswald-Redlich Straße


Within this project, resident involvement went further than just ensuring smooth achievement of the refurbishment work and proper use of the new equipment, because residents were asked to contribute financially to the project.  This financial support will take the form of a monthly rent increase of less than five euro per square meter each month, partly balanced by a reduction of operation and maintenance costs. In addition, electricity produced by the building’s new solar panels is sold to the Austrian Agency for Green electricity and fed directly into the grid, creating a new shared income for the residents. Furthermore, thermal renovation of façades, attics, roof, and balconies, with the addition of building integrated photovoltaics, as well as the installation of triple-glazing windows and replacement of apartment doors have tripled the energy performance of the building. As a result, the building should now produce almost more than half of the energy (43kWh/a) it consumes (72kWh/a).


Education is a key to success in every energy efficient renovation programme. In Innsbruck, strong and early involvement of the 210 buildings’ residents ensured their support to the project and current satisfaction in living in a nearly zero energy building.


For more details, click here to discover the factsheets of Innsbruck’s renovated buildings.