What should an apartment contain to encourage me as a resident to act in a more environmentally friendly manner? This is the question that RISE Interactive (formerly called Interactive Institute) and Eskilstuna Kommunfastigheter AB explored in a feasibility study that was funded by the participating parties and the Swedish Energy Agency (Energimyndigheten).

The project is part of the larger initiative Sköna, gröna Lagersberg and aims to produce new knowledge about the importance of energy efficient behaviour during renovations in the context of so-called million home areas. The project has a strong future oriented perspective where design research along with intercultural perspectives and ethnographic methodology plays a key role in finding innovative ways to get people to live sustainably in rental apartments. The ultimate aim is thus to eventually increase the opportunities for sustainable lifestyles to get manifested in renovated million home program areas.

Below are the resulting design concepts from the project. 



Eco hosts have the role of ambassadors and communicators of environmental knowledge. The meet and introduce new tenants and become a natural part of the area and how to support the tenants in the development of sustainable practices. An Eco host could be a tenant but also an external person deliberately chosen for that role. 


The welcome kit is a box that contains everyday objects such as environmentally friendly detergent, dish soap, extension plug with switch, pot with lid, garbage bags, wool socks, wool sweater and a hanger for airing clothes on the balcony. They act as fragments of sustainable practices. Each object has an interactive tag that with a smart phone can access movies and visual information explaining the context and use of the object. The kit is handed over and explained by the Eco host as the tenants move into their new apartment. 


Babysteps is a concept directed towards the children in the area involving the subjects of recycling, water use, electricity use and overall environmental knowledge. It consists of physical meetings organized by the Eco host where the children can watch movies and participate in small competitions that increases the knowledge about sustainability. Babysteps is also a series of interactive books that in an inclusive way tell intercultural stories. The information in the books are very basic but has interactive areas where the children can trigger more information such as movies and other media with a smart phone. 


The Home Energy Management System gives feedback on the household’s use of resources. Partly by a digital interface integrated in a hanging on the wall and partly by ambient sounds. The digital interface offer ambient and detailed information about the use of resources of electricity, hot water and waste in an iconic manner and offer different modes of view such as patterns, icons, graphs and as floor plan. The aesthetics is inspired by Middle East and African art. The sound feedback communicates real-time use of resources to facilitate an understanding of what activities that consume more than others. An important part of the HEMS is the physical meeting where the Eco host introduce the system, help the tenants to set a budget and support them in the discussion of how more sustainable practices could develop. 


An apartment was also decorated in a sustainable way as a part of the project. You can read about the apartment and the design process at (Swedish only).