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, March 24, 2017 - 08:54

Design concepts selected for Merihaka and Hakaniemi bridges

Preliminary design concepts have been selected for bridges to be built in Merihaka and Hakaniemi. The concepts will serve as a basis for further bridge design and engineering.

The design concept selected for the Merihaka bridge (see rendering above) will produce a lightweight, pier-like structure that doesn’t block the view from Kalasatama to Pohjoisranta owing to its low elevation. This was considered a merit in terms of the overall cityscape.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 13:52

The City of Helsinki Financial Statements 2016: Economy stabilising

"The year 2016 in the economy of the City of Helsinki was more positive than expected. The operating margin of the City was better than the budgeted figure and the tax revenue grew more than expected. Thus, the annual contribution margin was €300 million better than the budgeted target”, says Mayor Jussi Pajunen of the City of Helsinki Financial Statements 2016.

Friday, March 10, 2017 - 08:35

Waste is collected through underground pipes in Kruunuvuorenranta

The new Kruunuvuorenranta district under construction in eastern Helsinki commissioned a pipeline-based automated waste collection system named Rode on 6 March 2017. Each housing company has its own waste collection station, and waste is sucked from these stations through underground pipes to a central collection station. Waste is moved in the pipes by pressure differences.

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 12:16

The Port of Helsinki has significant positive economy and employment-related effects

According to a recent survey, the Port of Helsinki has significant positive effects on the regional economy and employment rates in the municipalities in and around the Helsinki region. The total value of the business operations related to the Port of Helsinki in 2015 was 1.6 billion euros, and the operations employed approximately 15,000 people. In addition to the regional level, the effects practically span throughout the country.