International project SmartEnCity

The smart city project SmartEnCity has started in Tartu. Its goal is to make the city environment smart and sustainable, to inspire people to make environmentally conscious decisions and to be easily replicable in other European cities as well.

The key activity in the project is renovating the old Soviet apartment buildings in the Tartu downtown area into energy-efficient and modern houses.

Building renovations

The pilot area includes 42 apartment buildings, approximately 20 of which will be renovated. Even buildings that have already been partially renovated can join the project. A majority decision during a housing association meeting is required to join.

A large-scale renovation of the apartment buildings is one of the key requirements of the project (this includes insulating the building envelope, constructing forced air ventilation and central water heating systems, etc.) in line with the standards of zero energy buildings. All the houses will also be equipped with solar panels to produce renewable energy. The renovation works must be completed by the end of the year 2019.

Experts of the Tartu Regional Energy Agency will offer information and help throughout the duration of the renovation project (Mr. Kalle Virkus (tel 551 2424); Mr. Martin Kikas (tel 524 5225);

Financing the renovation

The additional project funding will decrease the pilot area residents’ costs and offer a great chance to realize new and innovative renovation solutions and methods. In the SmartEnCity project, Tartu city will pay a renovation subsidy of 102 euros per square meter of the closed net area to each housing association. This makes up about 30-35% of the total cost of the renovation. The housing association is also encouraged to apply for a SA Kredex subsidy.

When both these subsidies are combined, pilot area residents (housing associations) will only have to pay approximately 1/3 of the total cost of the renovation. This is a rare and a unique opportunity!

Smart home solutions in the apartments

All buildings that will be renovated will also be equipped with a smart home (smart home management) solution provided by EnLife OÜ that will make day to day living more convenient and help to monitor energy consumption. The residents do not have to cover these costs, except ensuring an internet connection of the central devices.

Art on and around the pilot area buildings

The apartment buildings will also be made visually attractive. Every building façade or building surroundings will receive a unique artwor, (usually a mural but also sculptures and other art installations are possible) that will:

  • enrich the urban landscape and help build a more aesthetically pleasing and valuable living environment;
  • emphasize the unique nature of Tartu through art as every artwork will take into consideration the surroundings and history of each building;
  • acknowledge the progressiveness of the pilot area housing associations that decided to become smartovkas and have them stand out in the city as such through using art;
  • highlight the re-use and re-build concept of the project by “re-inventing” the old buildings through the use of art and smart solutions instead of demolishing them;
  • create a public art gallery that can be enjoyed by city residents and visitors alike;
  • emphasize the importance of Tartu as an art city.

To this end, an art competition was organized in 2016 where 54 local and international artists participated from more than 10 different countries.

When choosing the artwork, the artist, the expert project art curator and building residents will decide together on the suitable art piece.

Other smart city project activities

In addition to renovations and smart home solutions, the smart city project will also entail innovative solutions in district heating, transport, street lighting, renewable energy use and will emphasize citizen engagement and awareness raising. Electric vehicle charging points and electric bicycle and vehicle rental stations will be installed in the smart city district (pilot area) as well.

For more information, visit the project Facebook page at

Or the project webpage at

The pilot area: