The EU will support VVO in financing new near-zero-energy buildings (NZEBs) in Finland. The European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to extend EUR 170m in financing to the company, of which EUR 75m has been signed today. The loan will be extended under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) - part of the Investment Plan for Europe - the Juncker Commission's strategy to support investments and bring back jobs and growth to Europe. It allows the EIB, the European Commission’s strategic partner in the plan, to do more lending to innovative projects.

The investment programme will consist of the construction of several NZEB residential buildings, totalling around 1,800 housing units of 95,000 sqm in total. Areas of interest would be the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and other metropolitan areas such as Vantaa, Espoo and Tampere. The construction of new NZEBs has the goal of reducing energy consumption and lowering CO2-emissions, contributing to security of supply and EU climate impact mitigation objectives.

“Investing in energy efficiency is one of the most cost effective and rational way of reducing emissions and Finland is really leading the way in this on a European and global level." said EIB Vice-President Jan Vapaavuori about the operation. “We are glad we can support VVO in this, and combined with earlier investments in the sector, this operation shows the EIB is serious about having the fight against climate change as a top priority. Sustainable urban development in Finland is an important topic as such, but on a more practical level it should also lead to a reduction of energy consumption for the inhabitants, thus lowering their bills.”

“A new type of energy-efficient and climate-friendly construction plays a key role when we invest in new construction and renovate existing properties. We develop and provide our tenants with new housing solutions and services that create better urban housing. Financing from the European Investment Bank promotes new growth in line with VVO Group’s strategy, and the new properties will make it easier for people to relocate in pursuit of employment in urbanising Finland.” says VVO Group’s CEO Jani Nieminen.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Improving the energy efficiency of buildings requires financial backing and the Investment Plan for Europe plays a key role. Supporting the financing of near zero energy homes is an excellent use of the EU guarantee and I look forward to welcoming further projects which promote the low-carbon transition."

All new buildings will be NZEBs as defined by the Finish Ministry of the Environment, through the reduction of energy consumption the project will have a positive impact on the environment by reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Energy savings of 1,721 MWh/y of primary energy are expected, which amounts to an 18% reduction compared to the current construction standards, corresponding to 321.9 ton/y CO2 savings after project completion.

Background Information:
The European Investment Bank is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. Finland is one of the 28 shareholders of the EIB, owning a 1.274% stake in this European institution. In 2015 alone, the Bank made over EUR 1.6bn in loans available for Finnish projects in sectors including healthcare, industry and telecom. It has previously supported energy efficient building projects by Tripla and SATO.                                                                               

VVO Group plc is Finland’s largest nation-wide owner of residential properties, established in 1969 to alleviate housing shortages for migrant workers, and to provide safe and affordable rental housing. Nowadays VVO Group is a leading Finnish housing investment company holding roughly 35.000 rental homes in Finland’s largest urban growth centres. Its vision is to be a pioneer in housing and the customer’s number-one choice.

The Investment Plan for Europe focuses on strengthening European investments to create jobs and growth. It does so by making smarter use of new and existing financial resources, removing obstacles to investment, providing visibility and technical assistance to investment projects. The Investment Plan is already showing results. The projects and agreements approved for financing under the EFSI so far are expected to mobilise EUR 154 billion in total investments across 27 Member States and to support almost 377 000 SMEs. On 14 September 2016, the Commission proposed extending the EFSI by increasing its firepower and duration as well as reinforcing its strengths. Find the latest EFSI figures by sector and by country here. For more info, see the FAQs.