The smart district project in Tartu has already attracted 22 apartment associations to become part of the pilot area and renovate their buildings, which were constructed in the 1950s and 1960s, as zero-energy buildings. The city mayor is looking forward to environmental friendly changes.


”The fact that apartment associations are so interested in the matter shows that these types of projects have a good breeding ground here in Tartu,” says the city’s mayor, Urmas Klaas. “The renovation project allows us to make many important changes in the city environment, helping Tartu  take a major step towards the implementation of environmentally friendly and information technology solutions in our daily lives.”

The 22 apartment associations that have joined the project have reached the building design stage. They have all entered into contracts with a technical consultant and renovation designer.

The greatest progress so far has been made by the Kalevi 10 housing association, which has already obtained a construction permit for the pre-project stage of renovations. It has also submitted a connection application to Elektrilevi OÜ with regard to the solar panels to be installed on the roof. Current activities focus on design and the selection of artwork for the building’s façade.

The City of Tartu together with Tartu Regional Energy Agency are participating in the international SmartEnCity and REFURB projects in order to transform the Khrushchev-era building area in the city centre into a smart, energy-efficient district. The budget for the renovation of the Soviet apartment blocks as zero-energy buildings is approximately 4 million euros.

All of the buildings that are renovated will also be equipped with a smart home management solution that will help monitor and regulate energy consumption.

The project will also entail innovative solutions in district heating, street lighting and renewable energy use. Additionally, electric vehicle charging points and electric bicycle and vehicle rental stations will be established in the area.

In March, Tartu City Government launched a public tender for the reconstruction of street lighting in the pilot area and its immediate vicinity. The existing sodium lamps will be replaced with smart, energy-efficient LED lamps. According to the plans, the new lamps will be installed this summer.

The projects are funded from the Horizon2020 EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.