Photo from Innovation Fund Denmark's website

Millions to fund renovation of older public apartment buildings

Monday 07 Mar 16


Niels-Jørgen Aagaard
Head of Department
DTU Civil Engineering
+45 45 25 18 77


Geo Clausen
Professor, head of Section
DTU Civil Engineering
+45 45 25 40 25

Project Partners

Besides DTU, the partners in the REBUS project are:

  • Teknologisk Institut
  • NCC Construction Denmark A/S
  • Saint-Gobain Nordic A/S
  • Henning Larsen Architects A/S
  • COWI A/S
  • Frederikshavn Boligforening
  • Aalborg Universitet/Statens Byggeforskningsinstitut
  • Himmerland Boligforening

DTU and a number of partners have signed an investment agreement with Innovation Fund Denmark that provides 35 million DKK for a research project. The money will be used to renovate general public apartment buildings from the 1960s and 1970s.

In the Danish construction industry, the market for renovation makes up over 70% of the total market for building and renovation. Therefore there is much to be gained by optimizing both the organizational and technological solutions in renovation the buildings.

That is the starting point for a new project that DTU together with several partners from industry and other public authorities will be starting in spring 2016. The project partners have signed an investment agreement with Innovation Fund Denmark that will provide 35 million DKK for the project.

Comprehensive renovation of residential buildings

The project is called REBUS (REnovating BUilding Sustainably) and is based on a holistic approach to the renovation of residential buildings. The mindset of the project is that a well-proven solution, involving both the organization and new technological solutions, is necessary if the construction industry is to embrace new solutions for renovation.

The project partners will use public apartment buildings from the 1960s and 1970s as a demonstration object. This type of building is chosen because it represents 30% of the floor area of the existing housing stock in Denmark.

"Innovation and research in the construction industry is vital if we are to utilize our existing housing stock optimally. I am therefore pleased that Innovation Fund Denmark supports the idea of using older, public apartment buildings as a demonstration project. Precisely this type of housing has a great need for upgrades to decrease energy consumption while creating a good indoor climate and functional housing," says Niels-Jørgen Aagaard, Head of Department at DTU Civil Engineering.

Large market for exports of renovation solutions

The REBUS project has a goal of reducing energy consumption by 50%, reducing resource consumption during a renovation by 30% and increasing productivity by 20%. A radical change in the construction industry is required to achieve these goals, and the objective of the REBUS project is to help create this change in the industry.

"The construction industry is characterized by many challenges, including low productivity, a fragmented value chain and uncertainty about how the refurbishment targets are met. In REBUS we will deal with the many challenges in parallel. That will provides the opportunity to involve all parties in a renovation process while developing a market for deep renovation that includes functionality customization, user requests, indoor air quality, energy efficiency and significantly reducing resources and costs, "explains Geo Clausen, Professor and Head of Section for Indoor Climate and Building Physics at DTU Civil Engineering.

In addition, there is a significant international market potential in making solutions based on residential buildings from this particular period of time.

"Element constructions from the 1960s and 1970s represent a major part of the international building stock. This means that there is a huge market for export of the products, processes and methods that are being developed in REBUS. Particularly in Germany, France, Sweden, Norway and United Kingdom there is a ready market for solutions based on this type of construction, "says Geo Clausen.

From DTU the following departments participate in the project: DTU Civil Engineering, DTU Management Engineering and DTU Compute.