27 February 2008


Housing Fair 2008 will be held at an extremely beautiful location by the sea in Suvilahti, Vaasa,  three kilometers from the Vaasa city center. The housing fair area consists of private houses, small housing associations and blocks of flats, all of which have been built in an urban style, while still succeeding in remaining close to nature.

Finnish Housing Fair pioneers in ecological living

 
In the Housing Fair in Vaasa, Western Finland, green values have had an influence on everything, from the planning of the area to actually building of the houses. One of the most noticeable ecological features is the low-energy system, which is utilizing the warmth from the seabed to heat up the houses. In addition the system utilizes biogas from  an old landfill into heat and electricity. The system is an unique in the world .

The Vaasa Housing Fair will be held between 11 July and 10 August 2008. A total of 19 private houses are being built along the seashore. The plots are approximately 700 square meters. A total of 28 small housing associations and three blocks of flats are being built along two streets.

There are traditional and modern houses, luxurious as well as simpler designs, personal as well as standard styles. Different materials have also been used extensively.

Special attention is paid to the planning of the gardens and parks since the entire Suvilahti area was already formally known as a real garden suburb. The area offers many opportunities to spend free time. The amenities, like school, kindergarten and shopping center are also very close.

Almost self-sufficient in clean energy

The low-energy system developed for the housing fair area is an invention made by energy experts in Vaasa, and in 2006 it won the Innosuomi Prize. The system is a forerunner in the implementation of energy production processes for a restricted area.

A pipe network was laid on the seabed in order to accumulate heat for the houses at the fair. The average temperature of the sediment at a depth of a couple of metres is 8-9°C, even in the middle of winter. This is  twice as high compared with sediments on dry land. The seabed sediment stores the sun’s warmth efficiently, due to its composition and the water on it.

Heat pump technology will harness this energy to produce heating and hot water. During the summer, this low-energy system can be used to cool the houses.

In addition to the seabed sediment, other suitable energy sources for a low-energy system are bedrock or ground heat or return water of a district heating network.

The heat pumps in the houses are powered by fuel cells and microturbines utilizing combustible methane gas, which is collected from the old Suvilahti rubbish dump.

"The fair area will be almost self-sufficient in clean energy, and acts as an example of sustainable building and housing for domestic and international fair visitors," says Mauri Lieskoski, Project Manager.

An unique fuel cell plant using landfill gas

Finnish energy solutions provider Wärtsilä is delivering an unique fuel cell unit producing electricity and heat to the fair site. The fuel cell power plant is based on planar solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) technology. The plant is fueled by biogas or methane originating from a nearby landfill.

The emissions from a biogas-fuelled fuel cell are very low, which means that the solution supports the development of sustainable energy technology. (See separate article
: A fuel cell plant using landfill gas to produce energy for a Finnish housing fair)


More information:

Vaasa Housing Fair 2008


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