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Finland has lots to learn from international pioneers in energy efficiency

On 24 April 2009, Sitra published two reports examining the future of energy efficiency. The international comparison report Energy Efficiency Internationally gives examples to illustrate the speed of development in the world and states that Finland should promote energy efficiency by creating market mechanisms and by introducing innovative solutions in order to keep up with the development. The report entitled The Energy Future of Construction offers six different perspectives of the direction

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Doctors in the building and real estate sector put forward visions of the future of construction

On 24 April 2009, Sitra published two reports examining the future of energy efficiency. The international comparison report Energiatehokkuus kansainvälisesti (Energy Efficiency Internationally) gives examples to illustrate the speed of development in the world and states that Finland should promote energy efficiency by creating market mechanisms and by introducing innovative solutions in order to keep up with the development. The report entitled Rakentamisen energiatulevaisuus (The Energy Future of Construction) offers six different perspectives of the direction in which the built environment should be developed. The report contains ideas on areas such as constructing low-carbon areas starting with town planning.

What kind of built environment could be so inviting that there would no longer be any need to go abroad on holiday several times a year to relieve stress? What would an environment that motivates people to share the space with other people look like or one in which investing in the home’s carbon efficiency seems more sensible than investing in new digital entertainment devices? The report Rakentamisen energiatulevaisuus provides interesting and personal proposals in answer to these questions.

In the report, doctors working in the building and real estate sector come up with ideas on various alternatives for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in construction and the use of the built environment.

– It is great to note that in their articles the supreme masters of a world that is becoming increasingly technical have prominently highlighted consideration of the perspective of ordinary people in examining the energy future of construction, says the report’s editor Professor Seppo Junnila of Helsinki University of Technology. He believes construction, as an implementer of technologies, has the greatest responsibility and importance in preventing climate change, but that it has an even greater role as an enabler of a new way of life.

– Finland currently still lags behind in energy efficiency in construction. Although the country is already engaged in the field, we still have a lot to learn and much that can be exploited from the experiences and good practices of other countries,” states Jukka Noponen, Executive Director of Sitra’s Energy Programme. – Those nations that are able to turn various instruments into incentives, well-being for citizens and growth business will succeed, he continues.

– There are entire cities in the world that have committed themselves to reducing their carbon footprint and to steering construction towards energy efficiency through various programmes and controls on planning and construction, says Noponen. – We need completely new approaches to solving energy questions in the built environment and for strengthening the energy identity of citizens, he continues.

The report Energiatehokkuus kansainvälisesti drawn up by Gaia analyses international pioneers in energy efficiency and the applicability to Finland of the energy efficiency instruments in use and that are being tested. The report proposes the development and introduction of market-based practices. Coherent and centralised solutions should be adopted in transport and urban planning; for example, in line with the model of Vancouver, Canada. It is essential for Finland to be able to provide independent and comprehensive information on energy efficiency. There needs to be some urgency to the development of new technology and, above all, its introduction if Finland means to enjoy the benefits of being a pioneer in technology.

Furthermore, the report recommends that Finland launches a national climate programme, an energy-efficient renovation programme, and a targeted programme to cut the growing electricity consumption of the service sector. Transport energy efficiency could be promoted by introducing performance-based fees in transport.

– Many countries are rushing towards the markets in energy efficiency. Finland cannot afford to watch from the sidelines on how to make money from energy efficiency. Energy-efficient operations are also a basic requirement for the competitiveness of companies. A proactive approach to promoting energy efficiency is a wise – and essential – solution with respect to Finland’s economic life and the environment, says Gaia’s senior consultant Iivo Vehviläinen, one of the report’s authors.

The report Energiatehokkuus kansainvälisesti report was funded by the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and the Ministry of the Environment in addition to Sitra. The report also assisted the work of the national energy efficiency working group. The report’s subcontractor was WSP Environment Oy.
The report Rakentamisen energiatulevaisuus was written by members of the ‘Doctors Club’ working in the building and real estate sector.

Further information

Jukka Noponen, Executive Director, Sitra/Energy Programme, tel. +358 40 587 4323, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi

Seppo Junnila, Professor of the Real Estate Business, Helsinki University of Technology TKK, tel. +358 50 5115 816, firstname.lastname@tkk.fi

Juha Kostiainen, Business Director, Sitra/Energy Programme tel. +358 400 721 475, firstname.lastname@sitra.fi

Juha Vanhanen, Managing Director, Gaia Consulting Oy, tel. +358 50 564 1889 or Pasi Rinne, Chairman of the Board of Directors, tel. +358 400 464 127firstname.lastname@gaia.fi

Read the Energiatehokkuus kansainvälisesti report (in Finnish, PDF) »
Read the Rakentamisen energiatulevaisuus report (in Finnish, PDF) »

Details about the publication

Rakentamisen energiatulevaisuus
S. Junnila (ed.)
Sitra Reports 84
Sitra: Helsinki, 2009
ISBN: 978-951-563-663-8 (paperback)
ISSN 1457-571X (paperback)
ISBN 978-951-563-664-5 (URL http://www.sitra.fi)
ISSN 1457-5728 (URL http://www.sitra.fi)

Energiatehokkuus kansainvälisesti
Gaia Consulting Oy and WSP Environmental Oy
I. Vehviläinen, M. Halonen, J. Hiltunen, J. Kjellman, A. Kumpulainen, T. Pursula, J. Vanhanen
Sitra Reports 83
Sitra: Helsinki, 2009
ISBN: 978-951-563-661-4 (paperback)
ISSN 1457-571X (paperback)
ISBN 978-951-563-662-1(URL http://www.sitra.fi)
ISSN1457-5728 (URL http://www.sitra.fi)

You can order the reports from Sitra by sending an e-mail to publications@sitra.fi or by calling +358 9 618 991. The publications can also be downloaded in PDF format from Sitra’s website (www.sitra.fi) from the publications section.

Topic

Construction

Buildings account for the largest share of energy use, and therefore have the greatest potential for improving energy efficiency.

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