Cutting emissions in Finland, street by street

With a view to creating low-carbon cities adapted to climate change, the Climate Street project developed solutions aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption with businesses, property owners, residents and local authorities in Finland. They were trialled on three streets in two of the country’s cities: Iso Roobertinkatu in Helsinki, and Tikkuraitti and Asematie in Vantaa.

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The Climate Street project in Helsinki, in Finland, developed solutions aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption with businesses, property owners and residents © Pixabay The Climate Street project in Helsinki, in Finland, developed solutions aimed at cutting greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption with businesses, property owners and residents © Pixabay

" Climate streets were utilised as open innovative platforms and as test beds for smart and clean solutions. The basic idea is to start on one street, test concepts and then spread the good ones wider. Straightforward guidelines were produced from each pilot project. Simple user-friendly and tangible solutions make it easy to replicate the measures, and the word catches on. "

Jari Viinanen, City of Helsinki

Climate-friendly products and services created with business included sustainable meal workshops, vegetarian cooking classes and actions to reduce food waste in grocery shops. Gadgets to lower energy consumption were tested and presented at public events.
Businesses received consultations on energy-efficiency and installing energy-efficient lighting, while energy-efficiency guidance and solar energy surveys were offered to housing companies and owners of other properties.

Towards carbon neutrality

Vantaa and Helsinki aim to be carbon neutral by 2030 and 2035 respectively, but such targets cannot be met without input from businesses and citizens. Although environmental awareness is high in Finland, this does not always translate into action, and easy-to-use solutions with clear benefits are needed to get all parties to participate.

While numerous projects were underway to improve energy efficiency in newly built areas prior to the launch of Climate Street, it was less clear how greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced in places with older buildings. The use of such areas as a test bed was thus necessary. Several methods were employed, both before and during the project, to assess the benefits of possible actions.

With its free, professional solar energy surveys, Climate Street encouraged firms responsible for apartment buildings to fit solar panels onto roofs. It helped companies carrying out pilot activities to adapt them to neighbourhood needs and find partners and customers. The City of Helsinki prepared guidelines for the installation of solar panels on historically protected buildings. The first solar power plant set up by a housing company in the centre of Helsinki became fully operational in summer 2016.

A housing company chairpersons’ club provided a useful channel for cooperation and communication, boosting energy renovations and renewable energy use. Long-standing housing company chairpersons and board members shared their experiences and newer chairpersons got peer support for their activities.

Impacts at home

Sessions over the course of a month with a ‘personal climate trainer’ and environmental expert enabled six families to learn about the effects of their everyday life on the climate and try out more climate-friendly living. Local people received information on climate-friendly lifestyles at events including ‘smart gadgets’ exhibitions on domestic energy solutions held in libraries, shopping centres, cafeterias and schools.

Lessons learned and best practices are presented in a toolkit, available from the project website.

Thanks to Climate Street, local authorities gained an understanding of their role in enhancing cooperation with residents and businesses to reach ambitious emission targets. This is being developed further in other projects. A strategy has been deployed to spread the results to other large Finnish cities and the Climate Street energy model is being implemented across Helsinki.

 

Kokonaisinvestointi ja EU-rahoitus

Ilmastokatu-hankkeen kokonaisinvestointi on 825 619 euroa. EU:n Euroopan aluekehitysrahasto osallistuu hankkeeseen 553 164 eurolla ”Kestävä kasvu ja työpaikat 2014–2020 – Suomen rakennerahasto-ohjelma” -toimenpideohjelman kautta ohjelmakaudella 2014–2020.

 

Draft date

10/05/2019