Monday, January 2, 2017 - 08:05

Finlandia Hall equipped with solar panels as the city strives to boost energy efficiency

The maintenance area of Finlandia Hall received a truckload of solar panels as the day was breaking on 20 December 2016. The last days of the year saw 180 solar panels installed on the roof of the building. With the panels, electricity purchases for the hall can be cut by 25 percent during some hours of summer days.

The panels are expected to produce 2–3 percent of Finlandia Hall’s annual electricity consumption. This corresponds to the annual electricity use of 7–8 single-family houses with district heating.

The ongoing project is in line with the City of Helsinki principles of energy-efficient and zero-energy building construction. Helsinki has committed to cutting energy consumption by 9 percent in as many years (2008–2016). The goal is to significantly reduce the consumption of purchased energy (heating, cooling and electricity) in buildings. City of Helsinki construction projects strive to improve energy efficiency throughout the building stock.

More than 1,200 sites included in a solar panel study

Investigations related to renewable energy in the city’s construction projects focus on solar and wind energy as well as on heat pumps and geothermal cooling.

The most typical renewable energy form in the projects is solar power. Ongoing new construction and renovation projects take into consideration the goals and alternatives offered by the energy investigations.

According to Sirpa Eskelinen, the leading energy expert at the City of Helsinki Public Works Department, solar power can reduce the electricity consumption of a property by 2–20 percent per year.

“The Public Works Department has so far studied the potential for solar power at more than 1,200 city properties,” she says. “Detailed studies on the potential for solar power production have been conducted for 600 properties.”

Older properties present challenges

According to Eskelinen, the utilization of solar power presents challenges especially in renovation projects. The structures of older buildings may not support solar panels, so it is not advisable to make plans for solar power production in them. The total costs of a solar power plant are also affected by the costs of the plans and the implementation of required alterations.

The roof of Finlandia Hall was found to support the weight of solar panels. However, the total investment cost was increased by challenging indoor cable installations.

Other city solar energy projects in addition to Finlandia Hall include the Torpparinmäki and Hiidenkivi Comprehensive Schools. Several ongoing new construction projects also seek to utilize solar power including the Yliskylä day care centre.

Certified environmental management

Finlandia Hall will be one of the first European event venues utilizing solar power. Finlandia Hall’s long-ranging environmental work culminated last autumn in the ISO 14000 environmental management certification. So far less than 1 percent of Finnish businesses have been certified according to this ISO standard.

Text: Marita Penttilä, City of Helsinki Public Works Department

Friday, October 13, 2017 - 11:38

New fast route complements Helsinki cycling network

A new fast cycling route now serves Helsinki cyclists. The route ­runs along the main railway tracks. Called Pohjoisbaana in Finnish, the bikeway connects southern and northern cycling routes in Helsinki. It is a part of the network of bicycle superhighways, that is, bikeways with wide lanes and no or few stops, allowing for higher speeds and smoother rides than regular bikeways.

Thursday, October 5, 2017 - 11:07

Four groups chosen to continue to the next stage of the Helsinki High-Rise Design-Build Competition

Helsinki is one of the fastest growing cities in Europe. The change in the city is particularly visible in the former harbour and railway areas, which are now undergoing reconstruction to become homes, commercial spaces and business premises. The transformation offers excellent opportunities for property developers.

Monday, October 2, 2017 - 15:24

Helsinki High-rise Competition: Second phase competitors announced on 5 October at Expo Real 2017

The Finnish State and City of Helsinki organize the Helsinki High-Rise Competition for the design and construction of the Central Pasila Tower Area located in Helsinki. The competitors behind the proposals chosen for the final stage in the competition will be revealed at Helsinki High-Rise Brunch on October 5th at Expo Real, at Helsinki Finland Stand (B1.320).

Monday, October 2, 2017 - 09:24

Myllypuro is a success story of urban revitalization

Over the last ten years the eastern Helsinki district of Myllypuro has experienced noticeable growth. The housing types have diversified and services expanded as a result of systematic development efforts.

“The diversification of housing types, including more housing alternatives for families, is an outcome of infill construction. The Wooden Myllypuro area is a good example of this. The area, also thanks to its predominantly wooden houses, expands the image of Myllypuro,” says Helsinki Mayor Anni Sinnemäki.