27 October 2010
Finland identifies energy-smart measures for built environment
Over the next decade, a roadmap for developing regulations on construction and buildings must be charted, and building renovation and repair must be steered by means of regulations. Instead of post-control, building inspection activities must be proactive and provide guidance, says a survey by a Finnish task force.
Photo: City of Helsinki
Buildings must be given an environmental classification, limits must be specified for the growth of urban regions, and a feed-in tariff must be determined for solar energy, says the first comprehensive review that identifies the most effective emission-reduction measures in built environment.
The study proposes 31 actions concerning energy-efficient land use, decentralized energy production, construction guidance, building use and ownership, and competence development. Some of the actions proposed by the task force are short term, and some long term.
These measures are essential when aiming to reduce emissions caused by the built environment and for making Finland a leading country in energy efficiency.
The objective is that Finland will achieve its emission-reduction goal for the built environment already in 2017, before its 2020 deadline.
|According to Minister of Housing Jan Vapaavuori, who appointed the ERA17 task force, the most energy-smart measures may be quite different in cities and the countryside.
“Decentralized energy production may have an important role in rural areas, whereas the role of infill development and integrating the urban structure is emphasised in urban areas,” Minister Vapaavuori says.
“It is clear that renovation and repair work is a key factor in promoting an energy-smart approach: over half of the building stock of 2050 already exists today."
The ERA17 task force included leading experts in the business, research and public administration sectors. It was led by the Ministry of the Environment, Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, and Tekes - the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation.
Providing wide benefits, business opportunitiesIn Finland, the built environment currently consumes 42 percent of all energy, causing 38 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions.
According to initial impact estimates, the actions will lower the energy consumption of the built environment by about 20-35 percent and result in greenhouse gas emissions decreasing by 10-35 percent by 2050, as compared to the present levels.
Most of the investments required by the actions are already now financially feasible. In addition to lowering the levels of energy consumption and emissions, the actions may significantly improve the quality of construction and housing.
"This is to say that an energy-smart approach is not a sacrifice, but something positive which benefits us all. It also poses a significant business opportunity,” says Minister Vapaavuori.
“In fact, I hope that this is also more extensively understood by the real estate and construction sectors. Without these sectors fully committing to this, we will not be able to progress in this work," Vapaavuori concludes.
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