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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 09:22

Children of Laajasalo to have a new day care centre

The southeastern early-education district of Helsinki will have more space for the needs of day care and early education. A new day care centre to replace Day Care Centre Yliskylä being built at Köökarinpolku 1 will provide day care to 232 children a bit more than a year from now.

Monday, April 24, 2017 - 08:08

Tram network expanded and renovated in summer

Helsinki tram routes will be expanded and older tracks renovated during the summer and autumn of 2017 for the needs of a new tram network to be launched in August. Track work will proceed at about 20 sites.

The new tram network will have 2.8 kilometres of new tracks. The main track work sites will be located on the streets of Välimerenkatu and Reijolankatu.

Thursday, April 13, 2017 - 12:34

Helsinki residents’ sense of security has not weakened

Helsinki residents’ sense of security in everyday life has not deteriorated. This is a general conclusion of the latest Helsinki Safety Survey, the responses to which were collected at the turn of the year 2015-16. Perceived security in people’s own neighbourhoods and in central Inner Helsinki rose steadily in the years 2003-2012. Since then, the situation has not changed. Yet there are large differences between Helsinki districts in terms of perceived unsafety, particularly during weekend evenings.

Monday, April 10, 2017 - 07:46

Brochure on Helsinki’s new city plan

The new city plan of Helsinki is presented in a newly published brochure in a concise manner. The Helsinki City Plan brochure explains to readers the key concepts and solutions of the city plan, such as increasing density, the expansion of the inner city to “city boulevards” and the development of the rail network for public transport in Helsinki.