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Porvoo to become a city of carbon-free housing

The City of Porvoo in Finland is about to take a giant leap to become the number one place of residence in Finland in terms of energy efficiency. A new energy-efficient residential area for 6,000 people will be built in Porvoo’s Skaftkärr. The entire area will be designed and built so that the buildings, services, living environment, traffic arrangements and waste management will be run energy-efficiently.


The City of Porvoo in Finland is about to take a giant leap to become the number one place of residence in Finland in terms of energy efficiency. A new energy-efficient residential area for 6,000 people will be built in Porvoo’s Skaftkärr. The entire area will be designed and built so that the buildings, services, living environment, traffic arrangements and waste management will be run energy-efficiently.

“The Skaftkärr project has given the City of Porvoo an opportunity to become a city of carbon-free living. Energy efficiency has been raised as one of the key priorities in the new city strategy. Inspired by the Skaftkärr project, our municipal corporation has launched a versatile action plan that will systematically take Porvoo towards carbon-free housing. Such a substantial and genuine investment in energy efficiency is unique in the Finnish context,” says Fredrick von Schoultz, Deputy Mayor of the City of Porvoo.

The Skaftkärr project participants are Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, the City of Porvoo, Porvoon Energia Oy and the regional development company Posintra Oy. The planning and innovation work on the Skaftkärr area will be implemented through wide-ranging cooperation between the authorities, energy producers, energy recovery developers, construction companies, equipment manufacturers and other companies, as well as the future residents. The Skaftkärr pilot project is part of Sitra’s five-year Energy Programme, and the plan is to benefit from the experiences gained in the course of the project elsewhere in Finland.

Energy efficiency starts from town planning

The recently completed outline plan for Skaftkärr produced new information on how municipalities can use town planning as a tool for improving energy efficiency in their region. The findings of this groundbreaking work were collated in the report Energiatehokkuus kaavoituksessa (Energy efficiency in town planning; PDF available in Finnish).

“The joint planning project of Sitra and the City of Porvoo proved that through energy-smart planning we can achieve considerable savings in energy consumption and costs as well as reductions in emissions. The emissions and energy examinations conducted in conjunction with the planning will help local authorities grasp the climate impact of different planning solutions on a concrete level. Emissions calculations and overall energy examinations need to be included in all impact evaluation of planning all over Finland,” says Jukka Noponen, Director of Sitra’s Energy Programme.

“What was learnt when creating the energy master plan will in future be made use of in all planning work of the city. The City of Porvoo will take into account the carbon balance and energy solutions as part of the tendering process for plots. We will also be developing the concept of a carbon-free village centre,” says Deputy Mayor von Schoultz.

Porvoon Energia invests in bio and solar energy

Porvoon Energia Oy is developing clean energy solutions for the Skaftkärr project. “The City Council of Porvoo has only recently granted 42.5 million euro guarantees to Porvoon Energia Oy for the purpose of the second bio-power plant in Tolkkinen. After the completion of this project, more than 90 per cent of Porvoo’s district heating will be produced with renewable energy,” says Deputy Mayor Fredrick von Schoultz.

Already, 70 per cent of the heat production of Porvoo Energia Oy is based on renewable energy sources.

Porvoon Energia is also investigating in co-operation with Sitra the use of solar energy on a broader scale. The plans include the building of a new solar district heating plant. The aim is to be able to supply heating for the Skaftkärr area round the year completely free of emissions. The annual heating demand for the area is estimated at approximately 20 GWh. If realised, the solar district heating plant will be a major undertaking even on the European scale.

“The new bio-power and the solar district heating plants together could potentially increase the share of renewable energy used for district heating to as high as one hundred per cent in Porvoo,” says von Schoulz.

High-speed bicycle lanes planned for Porvoo city centre

The City of Porvoo and Posintra Oy have jointly investigated the possibilities to develop the high-speed bicycle lanes introduced in the Skaftkärr outline plan. Removing obstacles from pedestrian and bicycle traffic will increase energy efficiency. High-quality light traffic lanes will encourage people to choose walking or bicycling.

There are plans to build a fast high-quality bicycle lane between Skaftkärr area, Porvoo city centre and other local services. One solution suggested is to cover the lanes with solar panels, which would double as rain shelter for cyclists. The high-speed bicycle lane development work is currently being extended to include Porvoo city centre in addition to Skaftkärr.

Focus on Omenatarha

Energy-efficient experimental houses will be built in Skaftkärr’s Omenatarha area. Two plots have been reserved for experimental building to further develop low-energy building. In addition, another plot has been reserved in Omenatarha for an energy-efficient group building project.

Furthermore, new monitoring methods for energy consumption will be piloted in the area of Omenatarha. The houses participating in the project will be installed with measuring instruments with which households can monitor their energy consumption in real time. This will allow them to see what, for example, switching on the coffee maker or the television means in terms of energy consumption. Energy blogs kept by the households will provide a way of comparing their energy consumption and improve energy efficiency as a community.

The tendering process for the Omenatarha plots has only recently commenced. Those buying or leasing a plot in Omenatarha will receive a discount on the price of the plot or the first year’s rent, if they agree to acquiring the device for monitoring energy consumption and a broadband connection and to submit the measurements for use by the Skaftkärr project. For more information on the plots, please visit the City of Porvoo website (

The whole municipal corporation is involved

The municipal corporation of Porvoo is endorsing the action plan for carbon-free housing on a broad scale.

“The Kevätkumpu library houses an energy information point where in addition to information residents can borrow an energy meter free of charge to monitor the energy consumption of their own households,” says Deputy Mayor con Schoultz.

“The vocational institute Inveon has included energy efficiency as part of its curriculum, and the passive building project which was part of it has now been completed in Haikko. These are only some of the many examples included in our action plan,” von Schoultz concludes.

Further information

Fredrick von Schoultz, Deputy Mayor, City of Porvoo, tel. +358 40 554 1586
Eero Löytönen, Head of the City Plannign Department, City of Porvoo, tel. +358 40 528 4841
Jukka Noponen, Director, Sitra’s Energy Programme, tel. +358 40 587 4323
Arto Varis, Project Coordinator, Kehitysyhtiö Posintra Oy, puh. +358 50 526 2898
Mikko Ruotsalainen, Development Engineer, Porvoon Energia Oy, tel .+358 44 723 3277

E-publication details

Energiatehokkuus kaavoituksessa – Skaftkärr, Porvoo (in Finnish only) Pasi Rajala, Heikki Hirvonen, Sampo Perttula, Elisa Lähde, Perttu Pulkka, Leo Jarmala, Jouni Laukkanen, Jenni Patronen, Minna Jokinen, Timo Rintala, Karoliina Rajakallio, Tiina Kauppinen Sitra Working Papers 41, Sitra, Helsinki 2010 ISBN 978-951-563-742-0 (URL: ISSN 1796-7112 (URL: The publication will be available for downloading on Sitra’s website (in Finnish, pdf file)

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