Bjerknes Plass

Bergen apartments ready for the aging population

"The technology in these apartments can eliminate the need for individual tasks currently the responsibility of the health and social care authorities."

Tor Sætrang,
Fornebu Consulting

The shared ownership apartments in Bjerknes Plass are ready for the future. Should a resident need health and nursing services, the technology will ensure that he or she can live at home for longer. Greater independence means huge savings for society. This is why the industry is encouraging the incorporation of welfare technology into the planning of residential construction.

Health and social care are a drain on municipalities

The preliminary figures from municipal accounts in 2013 show that health and social care services account for a total of NOK 94 billion, or almost a third of all expenditure. Analyses also indicate that the number of elderly people over the age of 67 will double by 2050, something that is expected to create a total labor shortage equivalent to 43,000 full-time employees among professional health and social workers in the next 20 years, with nurses and qualified health workers particularly affected

“The technology in these apartments can eliminate the need for individual tasks currently the responsibility of the health and social care authorities. The residents are self-sufficient for longer and also feel secure in their own homes,” reports the technology consultant for Bjerknes Plass, Tor Sætrang from Fornebu Consulting.

Tor Sætrang from Fornebu Consulting
Tor Sætrang, Fornebu Consulting

Technology in the walls

At the end of the year, 108 of the 220 apartments were ready for residents to move in. A hidden control unit, along with heating and lighting controls, is standard, something that makes it possible for the resident to set the apartment to power saving and safe hibernation mode when they go out. Eaton’s xComfort control system is behind the technology. The basic solution can easily be expanded where necessary.

“Wireless alarm buttons can be fitted to the floor in designated locations, such as the shower for example, and the fridge can be equipped to send a notification if it is not opened within normal times. Pressure sensors can be placed in beds to register whether someone gets up and is away for longer than a standard visit to the bathroom. If anything is wrong, relatives and social care services are automatically notified,” explains Eaton Sales Manager, Bjarte Øren.

Biggest in Norway

Bjerknes Plass is one of the largest projects in Norway that is ready for welfare technology. Part of the solution for accommodating the aging population, as Minister of Local Government and Modernisation Jan Tore Sanner put it when he visited the project last winter.

Tor Sætrang at Fornebu Consulting believes that the demand for user-adapted technology in new-builds will increase.

“Security technology will gradually become a more important sales argument. Developers can save a lot by taking welfare technology into consideration as early as the planning stage, with fire protection, safeguarding the power supply, and access to the internet for example,” explains Tor Sætrang.

Greater mastering

Bergen Municipality has bought three apartments in the project. Per Waardal has been involved as a special adviser from the Centre for Development of Institutional and Home Care Services in Hordaland.

“The most important thing for us is that those who need healthcare and nursing are able to master what is involved in being more self-sufficient. The public savings for this are another side effect. An advantage with this system is the open standard. That means we avoid locking ourselves out of more connections in the future,” he says.

Bed sensor
Bed sensor

Control via smartphone or tablet
Control via smartphone or tablet

Examples of welfare technology in Bjerknes Plass

  • Central control: All functions in the apartment can be controlled from your smartphone, E-reader/tablet, and master switch.
  • Sensor-controlled lighting: Turns the lights on or off depending on the activity in the residence, in case of fire, etc.
  • Cooker monitoring: Switches off the cooker in the event of anything boiling dry.
  • Automatic notification: Relatives or the doctor are notified in the event of a fall or, for example, if anyone goes outside in the middle of the night.
  • TV with videophone: Simpler to maintain contact with the family and useful for medical consultations
  • Automatic switch-off: The power is automatically cut to flammable appliances when the resident goes out or goes to bed.
  • Alarm buttons: Positioned close to floor level in designated locations in the apartment, e.g. in the shower.
  • Automatic water switch-off in the event of leakage.