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Resource-wise housing pilot buildings chosen in Jyväskylä

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JAPA is conducting a pilot project with funding from the Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra) to seek cost-effective solutions for saving energy, reducing emissions and promoting well-being in diverse types of housing companies. The aim of the project is to create an operating model for resource-wise housing.

The project will initially be implemented in four housing companies selected for the pilot. The pilot buildings will operate as testing fields for resource-wise housing, trying out various solutions and operating models during this year.

Four housing companies of different kinds were selected from among 24 candidates for the Resource-Wide Housing pilot. They comprise apartment blocks and terraced houses located in the Kortesuo, Kuokkala, Mäki-Matti and Viitaniemi districts of Jyväskylä. “The criteria for selection included the interest displayed by the residents and the facilities managers, and the opportunities available for carrying out diverse trials and actions related to resource-wise housing on the sites during this year,” says Specialist Hanna-Leena Ottelin from Sitra.

The project, run by the sustainable development association JAPA with support from Sitra, seeks to answer the questions of how housing companies can improve their resource wisdom without huge investments, and how their boards can be convinced to make the necessary decisions. The intention is to pilot solutions that save natural resources and reduce emissions, particularly in relation to energy consumption, water consumption and sharing of various resources, in housing companies within Jyväskylä. The practical solutions may be related to installing water-saving fittings, transforming unused common rooms into a shared guest room for the whole housing association, buying a shared bicycle for residents to use or replacing outdoor lighting with energy-saving alternatives. Even small changes can have a large impact on emissions, resource use and, above all, cost management for housing companies. Resource wisdom brings cost savings, while potentially improving living conditions and increasing the value of property.

The purpose of the project is to develop an operating model for resource-wise housing, which could be imitated and spread all around Finland.

Four apartment blocks and terraced houses around the city

The pilot site in Kortesuo is a housing company named Jyväskylän Kurjenpolvi at the address Lyhdekatu 4. It is a relatively new association of 15 terraced properties built in 2002. The second site is at Kivipelto 2 in Kuokkala, named Kekkolansato, and is a block of 25 apartments built in 1989. The third site is located at Pitkäkatu 29, right in the centre of town (Mäki-Matti). This 26-apartment block represents an older style of building having been built in 1954. “We are excited to see where the pilot will lead. We are prepared to take on the challenge and to prove how much our housing company can achieve through joint effort,” says Mikko Myllymäki, chairman of the board of the housing company at Pitkäkatu 29.

The fourth site is a housing company comprising 53 apartments built in 1980, including both apartment blocks and terraced houses. It is located at Aatoksenkatu 6 in Viitaniemi. The site started its efforts at the end of last year already, when it replaced its outdoor lighting with energy-saving LEDs as part of a resource-wisdom campaign led by Sitra and the City of Jyväskylä.

Actions by resource-saving consultants

The pilot sites will start the project by conducting a review onsite with experts from various areas to see what aspects of resource wisdom could be implemented in each place. The consultants will include experts in areas such as energy and water consumption, cycling, spatial planning and landscaping. After the review, the housing companies and all their residents will get down to work to implement the ideas and solutions put forward.

One concrete aim of the project is to start the preparatory work for creating a label or a set of criteria for labelling resource-wise housing companies. This would be comparable to the Green Office system for offices or the Green Flag system for schools. The idea is to understand the ways in which a resource-wise housing company differs from an average one in relation to energy and water consumption, waste management, carbon dioxide emissions and cost savings, for example, and why it would be worthwhile for housing companies to aim for this.
The pilot forms part of Sitra’s Towards Resource Wisdom project, which promotes wiser use of resources and aims to reduce environmental impacts in collaboration with citizens, businesses and communities.

The progress of the pilot sites can be followed at www.japary.fi/asuviisaasti (in Finnish), which will contain information of the trials and actions completed at the sites. Information will also be found on the Sitra website at http://www.sitra.fi/en/projects/resource-wise-housing.

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