Sitra’s Energy Programme to save Finland billions of euros
Sitra’s Energy Programme will save Finland EUR 1.2 billion per year beginning in 2020. It has been calculated that projects implemented by the Energy Programme and its partners will help reduce heating energy consumption by 19 percent and emissions by about five percent in 2020. The goal of Sitra’s Energy Programme (2008–2012) was to create a downward trend in energy use and emissions in communities. The programme is now nearing its close, and its effects have been evaluated. The results show that national programmes are effective and well worth implementing.
“Sustainability thinking became deeply rooted in Sitra’s strategy during the Energy Programme and is strongly reflected in our operations. The promotion of economic, ecological and social sustainability creates success for Finland over the long term,” says Mikko Kosonen, President of Sitra.
Hans Nilsson has spent much of his career as Director of the Swedish Energimyndigheten and with the International Energy Agency (IEA). He delivered the keynote speech at the concluding seminar of Sitra’s Energy Programme, and believes there is huge potential for energy efficiency and savings in the built environment. But he warned: “This potential won’t be released unless the activities are massively accepted by the users/customers. We need to have more green procurement and use new technology, to increase deployment.”
Performed by Gaia Group, the evaluation shows that Sitra’s Energy Programme has triggered a change that can reduce the heating energy consumption of buildings by about 13 terawatt hours (TWh) by 2020. Considering the general development of energy consumption, this represents a decrease of about 19 percent (EUR 600 million). Electricity consumption can be reduced by nearly 2 TWh, which represents a decrease of 5 percent (EUR 200 million). In traffic, fuel consumption can be decreased by about 1 TWh, which equates to 3 percent (EUR 140 million). Furthermore, carbon dioxide emissions would decrease by more than 3 million tonnes, or 5 percent, considering the basic development of energy consumption. For these effects to be realised, the current national development work needs to continue.
According to Sitra, the third-party evaluation proves that national programmes are well worth the investment. Moreover, concrete examples are needed for sustainable construction to advance in Finland. Results of this magnitude require enthusiasm and broad-based cooperation – no company or organisation will be able to produce them on its own.
“Our work over the past five years has made me even more convinced that more brave leadership is needed in the energy, property and construction sectors to implement necessary changes in the future,” says Jukka Noponen, Director of Sitra’s Energy Programme. “There is still more talk than action, and citizens do not have enough information or power to make an impact through their purchasing decisions.”
Sitra invested a total of about EUR 9 million in projects carried out within the Energy Programme. In addition, Sitra invested in companies and funds in the field.
Jukka Noponen, Director