Aalto Works energy solution awarded as Energy Genius of the Year 2022

Aalto University and Fortum are renewing the heating and cooling system of a block of 10 properties in Otaniemi to be carbon neutral and almost completely self-sufficient. The innovative implementation has received Motiva's Energy Genius of the Year 2022 award. The solution is based on connecting local production and the district heating system, as well as low heat and cold networks
Havainnekuva Aalto University Works -korttelista
Illustration: Helin & Co Architects

The energy solution being built in the Aalto Works block, brings heating, hot water and cooling with large, centralised air-water heat pumps for the area. Heat and cold are transferred to buildings with the help of new low heat and cold networks. In the same area, waste heat generated during cooling can be recycled, which improves the energy efficiency of production. The degree of self-sufficiency in production is 70–90 percent.

In addition, the regional network of the block will be connected to the district heating system, so that consumption peaks at the coldest times can be covered with renewable district heating if necessary. The construction of the second phase of the energy solution is underway and will be finally completed in the next few years. The first phase began at the beginning of 2021.

A perfect example for the future

'Aalto Works energy solution is a perfect example of an application where the energy operator and the customer jointly develop an energy solution in accordance with the customer's goals for an already built-up area', describes the chair of the competition jury, Tiina Sekki, Energy Authority.

According to the jury, 'The experiences and lessons learned from the scalable and replicable block heating site will facilitate the implementation of similar sites in the coming years, when the energy system is changed to carbon neutral.'

'We want to be as innovative in the campus area as in university research. Otaniemi is being heading for carbon neutrality, so this is an important step towards our goal of sustainable development. For example, at the end of the year we will connect the first real low-temperature site, i.e. the renovated K3 building, to the energy system', says Aalto University Campus & Real Estate's (ACRE) Managing Director Ville Jokela.

Smart energy pilot area and ecosystem

Aalto Works energy solution is part of the Smart Otaniemi initiative, which aims for a smart energy pilot area and ecosystem in Otaniemi. Aalto University and Fortum have also agreed on a research collaboration, where all generated data will be used together for research and system development, among other things. The research also concerns the optimisation of energy production and consumption.

'The results of the first construction phase were in line with the goals agreed with Aalto University Campus & Real Estate, so we were able to build the second phase as planned. Cooperation with an innovative pioneer like ACRE has proven to be an excellent way to implement hybrid solutions that utilize heat pumps', emphasizes Thomas Ekholm, Head of the Energy Solutions unit from Fortum's heating and cooling business.

Fortum is responsible for the design, construction and operation during the life cycle of the block's energy system. The project is implemented and developed in close cooperation, and the aim is to expand the system to nearby properties in the future.

Text: Fortum Oyj, communications

More information
Antti Säynäjoki, development manager, Aalto University Campus & Real Estate, [email protected], tel. 050 364 3745

Thomas Ekholm, Head of the Energy Solutions unit, Finnish heating and cooling business, Fortum, [email protected], tel. 040 828 0777

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At Aalto, we create solutions that enable well-being within the planetary boundaries. With us, you get the opportunity to learn, research and do meaningful things in a unique environment: we combine the expertise in science, art, technology and economy to develop creative solutions to the world’s major challenges, such as the climate crisis. We are a community of thousands of students, researchers and experts with passion and expertise for both system-level solutions and the rapidly implemented new innovations.

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