Business | June 15, 2012

VTT and Samsung C&T build ecocampus in Greater Helsinki

Samsung C&T Corporation heads an international project that looks for ways of improving the energy efficiency of properties.
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Samsung C&T Corporation have concluded a framework agreement for the coordination of the pilot project. The international consortium will invest one million euros in making use of new technology to improve the energy efficiency of the properties that make up the Otaniemi campus area in the town of Espoo in Greater Helsinki. The vision of VTT and the property owners is to make the area emission-free and entirely self-sufficient in energy by 2030.

The Otaniemi campus area in Espoo is a participant in the extensive, international Korea-Micro Energy Grid (K-MEG) development project, which has a budget of more than 100 million euros. The project develops solutions for improving the energy efficiency of properties. VTT coordinates the international pilot project that has been launched in the Otaniemi campus area to improve the energy efficiency of the properties through a one-million-euro investment by the international consortium. The framework agreement between the Korean Samsung C&T Corporation and VTT runs until the end of 2014.

“We are part of an important development project looking for new methods and technologies for improving the energy efficiency of properties,” says VTT Senior Scientist Janne Peltonen. “Energy use during the project will be monitored using smart solutions, and the information integrated into an ICT-based energy management system. The aim is a significant reduction in energy use and carbon dioxide emissions.”

“Apart from technology we also need ways to encourage property users to act more ecologically. Users' share of a property's energy consumption is in the region of 5–15 per cent. We must also focus on optimising the use of space,” says Peltonen.

Espoo's Mayor Jukka Mäkelä believes the ecocampus model fits Espoo's profile. “This represents typical Espoo thinking – combining new technology and its applications, saving energy and thinking environmentally, as well as cooperating with an important international partner.”

Energy efficiency through new technology

The participants in the pilot project coordinated by VTT are Aalto University Properties Ltd, Senate Properties, the Foundation for Student Housing in the Helsinki Region (HOAS) and Teknologföreningen TF – all owners of properties in the area.

An energy monitoring system will be built during the project's first phase to monitor electricity, heat and water consumption. The next step is to implement a centralised energy management system to control energy efficiency at the level of individual buildings. A remote solution allowing overseas monitoring and control of energy use in the Otaniemi properties will also be implemented.

“The current energy use environment of these properties will be mapped out with sensor networks, monitoring and measurements,” says VTT Senior Scientist Jorma Pietiläinen. “The properties integrate a wide variety of technologies, including wireless data transfer technologies. We are exploiting expertise in the fields of energy, electricity, electronics and ICT in a diverse manner. With the intention to exhibit and sell the solutions developed during the pilot globally, the project now launched will provide export opportunities for Finnish companies.”

A campus completely self-sufficient in energy

The international pilot project forms the foundation of a vision extending to 2030, where the representatives of property owners in VTT and the Otaniemi campus area aspire to implement an ecocampus that is emission-free and entirely self-sufficient in energy. Ecocampus properties will have top-quality energy efficiency, while full and effective use will be made of the data on property use.

“The more extensive ecocampus project is a mostly Finnish development project, with particular focus on energy solutions productive at the local level and that of individual buildings,” says Pietiläinen. “As pioneers, we would demonstrate how the latest technology can be exploited cost-effectively in a world-class research and development environment. Energy can be produced in versatile ways, through ground heat solutions, for example, or making use of the heat produced by the sun.”
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