Viikki Environment House, Helsinki

Finland’s most energy-efficient office building
Year of construction: 2011
Owner: Kiinteistö Oy Helsingin Ympäristötalo
Developer: HKR-Rakennuttaja
Construction company: Lemminkäinen Ltd.

Viikki Environment House – Finland’s most energy-efficient office building

This new office building, built on Viikki’s “green campus,” has an energy efficiency goal of 70kWh/GFA/year. This rate is half of what the 2012 Finnish regulations for new buildings require. A typical office building’s energy efficiency rate is appromixately 150kWh/GFA/year. The Environment House improves its efficiency by combining several different energy saving solutions. Also, the materials and construction methods used for this five-story, 6,500m² building were environmentally friendly.

Energy from the sun, cooling from underground

Part of the energy needed is produced on-site: the solar panels placed on the façade and roof have a combined area of 572m² and produce 60kWh, which accounts for 20% of the building’s energy needs. This makes the Viikki Environment House one of Finland’s biggest solar power plants. The building also has four, silent Windside wind turbines that produce additional energy.

The energy needed for heating water and interior spaces is supplied by Helsinki’s district heating network. The cooling system does not require outside energy, because the building has 25 drilled wells, each one being 250 meters deep. The water retrieved from the wells is used for cooling and the only appliance using electricity in the cooling system is the water pump. The energy need for the cooling system is at a maximum of 40W/m², which is guaranteed by cooling also during nighttime and the overall design of the building.

Environmental sciences harnessing zero-energy building

This office building is used by the City of Helsinki’s Environment Centre and the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences of the University of Helsinki. Inside the building there is workspace for 240 people, conference rooms, a cafeteria, and an exhibition space. Both occupants are environmentally conscious and carry out energy-saving procedures. All visitors can follow a live feed of the building’s energy consumption on screens installed in the lobby.

The Viikko Environment House follows the City of Helsinki’s decision of applying zero-energy building principles to the construction process. The building is meant to be an example of zero-energy building and it can be used as an example of measuring real energy consumption in relation to simulated calculations. Energy consumption is constantly measured on many levels and systems.

In addition to achieving its goals in energy efficiency, the construction costs turned out to be smaller than estimated: from an estimated 21,6 million euros, the final costs totaled under 17 million.

For more information, contact: Petteri Huuska, firstname.lastname@hel.fi

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