The Winter Garden in the suburb of Ålidhem in Umeå is green in many ways: It has beautiful green vegetation inside, a soft carpet of sedum on the roof, and is built with a focus on sustainability. The temperature inside is maintained at a comfortable level, with recycled heat returned from the nearby low-energy accommodation, and the electricity used in the Winter Garden is produced by PV-cells on the roof of the building next to it. Hot water and energy consumption is shown in real-time on a display. All buildings in the area are built to consume a maximum 65 kWh/m2/year.
"It's a big deal that Umeå is pioneering sustainable construction," says Stellan Lundberg, member of the Delegation of Sustainable Cities, who opened the Winter Garden together with Lennart Holmlund, Municipal Commissioner of Umeå.
Lennart Holmlund agrees.
"What was once fast becoming a catastrophe is now a great success, with social, ecological and economical sustainability."
It all started much earlier. The fire at Geografigränd on Christmas night in 2008, affecting around 200 tenants, despite the extensive damage, was the beginning of something new. In face of the rebuild, the inhabitants were able to take part in dialogues and express their wishes for the new courtyard. In the dialogue sessions, there was a clear desire to have a good social forum. A place that could be something more; something which has now become a reality.
"You could say the Winter Garden is a direct result of the tenants' wishes. We're proud of the Winter Garden and the sustainability work that we've managed to bring about together with Umeå Energi and the municipality here in Ålidhem," says Ann-Sofi Tapani, MD of AB Bostaden.
The room of possibilities
It is thanks to the Sustainable Ålidhem project - a cooperation between Bostaden, Umeå municipality and Umeå Energi - and with financial support from the Delegation of Sustainable Cities that the construction of the Winter Garden was possible. An energy-efficient social forum that in the first instance is for the use of the tenants of the newly built suburb and the local area. Gradually, the premises will also be available to rent out to the public and businesses.
The Winter Garden is equipped with modern technology. Bostaden offers free wireless internet and there are five different screens, meaning the premises can be used for everything from watching sport on the big screen with friends to holding full-day meetings with the facility to display moving images on several screens simultaneously.
Facts: the Winter Garden
Surface: 150 m2
Photovoltaic cells: 135 m2 (on the adjacent apartment building)
Budget: SEK 10 million, 3 million of which is from the Delegation of Sustainable Cities
Facts: Sustainable Ålidhem
Project period: December 2009 – December 2014
Project goals: Cut the area's energy requirement in half, reduce the consumption of how water and electricity by 20 per cent, reduce the quantity of household waste by 40 per cent.
Measures taken: Installation of one of northern Sweden's largest photo-voltaic plants, construction of the Winter Garden, increasing energy efficiency of the Million Programme on Geografigränd and Matematikgränd, reducing the barrier effect of Studentvägen.
Budget: SEK 33.7 million from the Delegation of Sustainable Cities
MD, AB Bostaden
Tel: 070-582 72 02
The Delegation of Sustainable Cities
Tel: 070-266 01 91
Tel: 070-550 47 85