Vätterhem YEAH is a collaborative project between Vätterhem and Yellon, with the vision of constructing self-sustaining and globally unique apartment buildings in Jönköping. There were advanced plans to realize this vision by 2023, but due to a lack of time and external funding, Vätterhem chose to build unique net zero energy houses with selected techniques from the concept instead.
The plan was to build 44 apartments in two fully self-sufficient houses in Slåttertiden 1 on upper Öxnehaga, Jönköping. To make relevant comparisons in terms of operations, living quality, and construction, two standard houses were also planned in the same neighborhood.
“We’ve been working on the concept for over four years and realized early on that a property manager with long-term vision was needed to carry out this type of project. We presented our ideas to Vätterhem, and for the past two years, we have taken on a joint venture, running the project together under the name Vätterhem YEAH,” says Pär Löfstedt, project manager at Yellon and YEAH.
Vätterhem YEAH was intended to become the world’s first self-sustaining multi-residential building. To build according to the new concept, several investigations, studies, and calculations were conducted parallel to the detailed planning. Some parts did not come together in time, and additional financial support was needed to fund the project. Time and money were not enough to turn the vision into reality this time. However, both architecture, techniques, and insights from the project are incorporated into the net zero energy houses that are being built on the site.
“This time, a full-scale YEAH concept did not materialize, but who knows what will happen in future projects. However, it feels exciting and important that the project will still be unique in Sweden,” says Raymond Paska, Acting CEO of Vätterhem.
One of the key figures in the project to build net zero energy houses in Jönköping is Sigfrid Lindén Johansson, an energy engineer at Skanska. He is excited about the YEAH concept and believes the build it is now a cherry-pick solution that will continue to be groundbreaking.
The YEAH concept aligns with our ideas of building off-grid in the Swedish climate. We didn’t make it all the way this time, but the legacy of the concept lives on in the solutions implemented in the houses”
The project is now in the system documentation phase, and the incorporated techniques include a hybrid heat pump, liquid-cooled solar panels, a battery stack, and a water purification system that enables greywater recycling. Instead of ground heat storage, borehole storage is used. Sigfrid believes that this is a cutting-edge solution in terms of energy systems.
“The combination of solar panels, batteries, and a hybrid heat pump makes the houses almost self-sufficient in energy. The need to purchase electricity decreases, and the options for when to buy it increase, which means that the actual CO2 savings will be much greater than many other net zero projects currently underway,” says Sigfrid.
From April to September, the building’s electricity can be completely powered by collected energy, and from the end of May to August, the houses become fully self-sufficient, including all household energy. Combined with the energy storage, this is a solution that does not yet exist in Sweden.
“The fact that we are now building net zero energy houses hasn’t really affected the architecture much. We had to rethink certain techniques, but our original ideas about ecological and social sustainability are still intact,” says Patrik Svensson, architect at Yellon.
Patrik appreciates the neighborhood’s pleasant courtyards and how the buildings relate to the site. He is proud of the project and that some ideas will now be put to the test. The project takes it one step closer to fully realizing the YEAH concept. And Sigfrid is convinced that it will become a reality.
“We need to scrutinize our systems to successfully improve energy efficiency while maintaining or enhancing the quality of life for residents. The vision and principles of the YEAH concept is what will prevail. Yellon has done an excellent job of pushing the envelope, and even though there are some challenges remaining, it’s impressive that we are this close to building self-sustaining apartment buildings in northern latitudes,” concludes Sigfrid.
Do you want to know more about Vätterhem YEAH and the ongoing project in Kvarteret Slåttertiden 1? Contact me.
Architect MSA, Yellon
+46 (0)70 521 57 42