SHARING CITIES MILAN: Retrofitting with the people


In Milan, 55 percent of residential buildings are 40 years old or more. Although eco-efficient buildings are desirable in many cities like Milan, ‘Class A’ buildings – a green rating that demonstrates the highest energy efficiency – make up just two percent of Italy’s housing stock. There is a growing need to make urban areas more energy efficient, but many cities do not have the luxury of building new ‘Class A’ energy efficient houses and buildings from scratch.

But Milan’s local municipality, Comune di Milano (Municipality of Milan), has been working with residents living at five condominiums in Porta Romana on a Sharing Cities’ project to co-design smart and sustainable energy interventions with city dwellers. With a goal to create near zero emission districts across the city, the Municipality of Milan is empowering inner-city residents to lower energy usage in their homes with some cost-effective smart technology solutions.

The Municipality commenced its co-design process to retrofit condominiums with smart energy interventions in November 2016, receiving initial interest from residents at 52 condominiums. Of these, 924 families living at 20 condominiums (over an area of 21,000-square-metres) chose to engage in the co-design process, participating in 12 workshops and a further 20 participatory energy audits.

At end of this process, residents at five condominiums signed up to work with technicians to understand and analyse their building’s energy consumption and take ownership of their retrofit project, tailoring solutions to fit the needs of their community. With access to information on energy consumption, residents were not only empowered to play their part in the city’s vision to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but also had the opportunity to improve the ‘look and feel’ of their condominium and build more connected communities and neighbourhoods.

Since first commencing the co-design process, 125 apartments (15,500 square metres) have been retrofitted with smart energy solutions, including smart energy metres for monitoring energy consumption. By June 2019, a further 140 apartments (8,800 square metres) will be complete. And the good news is that the Porta Romana demonstration project is already welcoming early results at two of its newly-retrofitted condominiums, with 50 percent reductions in energy consumption, reduced energy bills for residents and improved energy ratings at both buildings.

A city committed to meeting carbon reduction targets, Milan is also retrofitting smart tech solutions at public and social buildings through their participation in the Sharing Cities’ collaboration. By empowering people to work with the local authority, developers and energy providers, the city is harnessing local knowledge to shape a low energy city.

Retrofitting buildings with sustainable energy measures is one of 10 measures that Sharing Cities’ demonstration cities are implementing in areas across Milan, Lisbon and Greenwich. Other measures include e-mobility, citizen engagement, urban sharing platforms and smart lampposts. Find out more about Sharing Cities measures


Replication Webinar Series: SEMS
Replication Webinar Series: Building Retrofit
Replication Webinar Series: E-bikes

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement N°691895

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