Scientists seek insulation solutions for 9-story apartment buildings

Apartment blocks in Tallinn's Lasnamäe district.
Apartment blocks in Tallinn's Lasnamäe district. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

Researchers are searching for ways to renovate nine-story Soviet-era apartment blocks in Estonia. Solutions have already been developed for 5-story buildings.

The average Estonian home is a Soviet-era apartment building, Census data shows, and the majority are badly insulated. Researchers at Tallinn's TalTech university are trying to change this, Friday's "Aktuaalne kaamera" reported.

Buildings in Tartu's Annelinn district are the first in the queue for new insulation but the way they have been constructed poses significant challenges.

Targo Kalamees, professor of construction physics, said nine-story buildings pose lots of challenges due to their height and stability.

"We want to produce a prototype in the coming weeks and discuss it with timber house manufacturers so that it can be installed as efficiently as possible and the solutions can be made in a way that makes the whole process fast and secure," said Kalamees.

Renovation costs are largely borne by residents themselves although funding from the City of Tartu and the international OpenLab project is available.

Kredex currently offers funding for work done on five-story buildings, and has so far provided it for 19 blocks, but it is not yet known if this scheme can be expanded.

"It was more for testing technical solutions. It's easier to do on a five-story building. Secondly, there are a lot of five-story houses that were built exactly according to Soviet-era prototypes," Joonas Kerge, Kredex's communications manager, said.

He said adding insulation from factory-produced panels is not the cheapest way to do things but it is a much faster process and causes less inconvenience for residents.

"In the future, if we do more of it, and do it en masse, the price should come down, because they will be produced in a factory, in a controlled environment, at a certain quality level," said Kerge.

The funding for apartment block renovation should rise to between €50-80 million per year in the following years, according to the national strategy.


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Editor: Merili Nael, Helen Wright

Source: Aktuaalne kaamera

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