Open Access Journal

ISSN: 2183-7635

Article | Open Access

Residents’ Perceptions of a Smart Technology Retrofit Towards Nearly Zero-Energy Performance

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Abstract:  Coping with global climate challenges requires changes in both individual practices and the technical infrastructure in which people operate. Retrofitting existing buildings with smart and sustainable technologies shows the potential in reducing the environmental impacts of the housing sector and improving the quality of life for residents. However, the efficiency of these means depends on their individual and societal acceptance. This calls for the need to incorporate social practice theories into the discussion of smart cities and technology adoption. This study aims to understand how smart retrofit intervention in an extensive pioneering smart city project in Estonia is perceived among the residents with different dispositions towards the environment and technology in an early phase of the intervention. We interviewed the residents of 18 Soviet-era apartment buildings which underwent a complete retrofit into nearly zero-energy buildings equipped with smart technologies. The results showed that pro-technology residents expressed high interest and trust towards smart retrofit intervention, while residents with environmentally inclined dispositions conveyed more critical arguments. This indicates that individuals’ underlying dispositions may result in different social practices and that a diverse set of engagement approaches are crucial for the success and social acceptance of large-scale pioneering projects in the housing sector.

Keywords:  environmental sustainability; nearly zero-energy renovation; smart city; smart retrofit intervention; technology adoption



© Veronika Mooses, Ingmar Pastak, Pilleriine Kamenjuk, Age Poom. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (, which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.