Ujpest forms a major part of Budapest’s IVth district near the inner city. Újpest, like Budapest, is not a single settlement, but a conglomeration of settlements, each with its own identity. Újpest is bordered on the west by the Danube and on the east by the main railway line leading to Vác, and another railway line to the south.

Some Key Figures

  • Residential area in hectares: 192
  • Nuumber of inhabitants: 47,700
  • Total estate area in ha: 105
  • Number of building complexes housing/other 54/9
  • Predominant building type: concrete panel over 10 storeys, flat roofs; 20% less than 4 floors
  • Average number of dwellings per building: 454
  • Average floor space per flat in m2: 45
  • Average inhabitants per flat 2.9
  • Total number of flats (units): 16,691
  • Owner-occupied flats, partly coop-administered: 7,349 (44 %)
  • State and local council housing: 9,342 (56 %)

Local Green City Building Strategy

The local strategy focus on developing energy efficient renovation methods for the many old concrete blocks of flats – in connection with possibly establishing roof top apartments to expand living area.

Urban Case Study Area

After demolishing the traditional small, one-storey houses, high concrete blocks and housing estates (alltogether approximately 16.000 flats in Újpest) were built to solve the housing shortage of the industrial workers. Nowadays, approximately the 50% of the inhabitants live in old concrete blocks!! The people of Újpest are said to be very amiable and local patriot, they like their “town” and don’t want to move away. The local government always supported the sports, the district has a great sport club (UTE), with a football stadium, a swimming pool and a new ice-hall.

The selected urban case study area is not far from the city centre with mainly residential and public buildings, located in the South. The interesting diversity of the traditional, small detached houses with narrow streets, little open spaces and the high-rise block of flats – built in the last decades – is a local characteristic of the district. These blocks were raised usually with all necessary services together, like elementary and nursery schools, doctors’ offices, pharmacies and commercial units. Lower and middle class inhabitants populate this area.

Energy and Environmental Screening

Unfortunately, maintenance costs are extremely high nowadays, due to the errors (planning, constructing, structural) and the use of a very old central heating system. Where the heating cannot be controlled in a flat that is why it is very warm in the flat sometimes or in other cases it is too cool or cold so people are unable to economize with energy even they want to. At the moment, residents pay their cost to the community according to the floor space of their flats as a joint cost.

It can be stated in general that the residents living in panel blocks are disturbed by two kinds of phenomena, which is connected to heat sensitivity. In winter they are too sensitive to coldness caused by openings and thermal bridges (see photo) as well as moulding and fungus, otherwise in summer they suffer from unbearable overheating which is caused mainly by the lack of outdoor screening.

The typical failures of outside openings are leaking, diffusion of air of exaggerated degree or operational problems, which cause poor heat and sound insulation. The tenants of panel blocks are very often complaining about acoustic problems, which disturb their both intellectual and free-time activities. On the one hand, it is caused by outside noise (public traffic), on the other hand, the lack of suitable noise reduction of inside mechanical installation as well as the one coming out from flats inside the block originated from residents.

Green City Building Project Results

Screening report gave a rather precise picture of the dilemma having very many “panel houses” – high rise concrete blocks from Russian time, where new owners cannot afford to pay for maintenance of buildings and energy supply systems etc.

The selected pilot buildings are 3 high-rise concrete blocks to be renovated. A first agreement was made with the owners association, which has to pay 1/3 of renovation costs together with 1/3 from the municipality and 1/3 state money. So the financing is actually available once the owners can afford the 1/3.

Unfortunately political elections and changes in Ujpest Municipality have caused delays in the necessary dialogue with the municipality for achieving planned project progress.


Alternative strategy drafts were made – house owners are only thinking of modernizing the heating systems to reduce costs – while municipality and EMI are trying to motivate for further upgrading of windows, facades, thermal insulation and roofs. So the final developed strategy comprised following improvements:

  1. Thermal insulation of walls, flat roofs, floor above the basement, cold bridges
  2. Windows upgrading and new insulated entrance doors
  3. External shading (roller shutters)
  4. Heat recovery ventilation and upgrading of total heating systems
  5. Installing PV/solar collectors (on roof top or on south façade as a new canopy)
  6. District heating retrofitting / and possibly use geothermal energy with heat pumps
  7. Building new entrances
  8. Optional: roof top apartments integrated in stead of flat roof
  9. Optional: building integrated micro wind turbine systems on top

Design Work and Testing

Design work and testing has also been delayed due to awaiting approval of an adjusted subsidy system for the municipality. But a thermographic analysis has been used to investigate the current state of the building – and used for some preliminary insulating works in the 3 pilot building blocks.

Therefore it was decided to carry out testing including monitoring etc. on 2 similar high-rise concrete buildings that EMI were renovating in another Budapest district. Renovation was already finished for one of the blocks and not yet started for the other block, so that monitoring results before/after could be made.

Besides technical monitoring was also made survey amongst residents about feeling too hot/cold in summer/winter and about noise. Results were clearly supporting the developed strategy for improvement priorities.


  • Renovation of the old concrete panel buildings
  • Solution for car parking problems
  • Rehabilitation of green areas around the housing estates
  • Forming community places for people in the blocks (club activities etc.)
  • Solution for the general transportation problems for this urban area
  • Implementing segregated waste management systems

Green Build Recommendations for Salzburg Local Authority

  • New quality oriented subsidy system giving priority to energy efficiency, use of renewables and Green Build sustainability principles
  • Implementation of sustainable terms in the building regulative
  • Training for building technicians and workers on new techniques
  • Make use of building quality control systems mandatory

For More Information You May Contact

Ms. Sára Horváth, Ujpest Municipality, Phone: +36 30 5202204,
Mr. Karoly Matolcsy, EMI – Építésügy Minöségellenörzö Innovációs, Phone: +36 1 3726 146,