A campus geared for sustainable development

The key environmental impacts of campuses are related to energy consumption, transport and recycling. A campus operating in line with the principles of sustainable development is a key part of the University's campus strategy.
Väre ja Kauppakorkeakoulu aurinkopaneelit Kuva: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto-yliopisto
Image: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University

We operate and develop our campus and our other sites in line with the principles of sustainable development. The key environmental impacts of the campus are related to energy consumption, transport and recycling, and we work actively to develop the energy efficiency of our existing property portfolio and to reduce energy consumption in our campuses.

Aalto University campuses actively work to develop the energy efficiency of their present building base and to decrease energy consumption. Aalto University Campus & Real Estate (Aalto CRE), which manages Aalto's properties, makes an effort to produce its own energy in an environmentally-friendly manner. Aalto CRE is responsible for approximately 75 percent of the facilities used by the university. The objective is to achieve a energy self-sufficient Otaniemi by 2030.

Energy efficiency agreements create concrete targets and incentives for energy savings

Aalto CRE is committed to reducing campus energy consumption by 2015 to 10.5% of what it was in 2014. The targets are defined in the national energy efficiency agreement for facilities (TETS), which 71 real estate sector companies have already signed (17 June 2019). The TETS energy efficiency agreement is a part of Finland’s comprehensive package of voluntary energy efficiency agreements, which aim to make it possible for Finland to achieve the energy savings targets set for it. 

The intermediate target is a drop of 7% by 2020. This target aims to ensure as great an energy impact as possible early on. The consumption figures for 2014 were 36,155 MWh electricity, 50,465 MWh heat and 150,038 m3 water. The largest implemented renewable energy projects are Dipoli’s (Otakaari 24) geothermal pumps and the solar panels and geothermal pumps under Väre building (Otaniementie 14) and School of Business building (Ekonominaukio 1). For more information on energy efficiency agreements please see the Motiva website.


Energy self-sufficient Otaniemi 2030

The goal of the Energy Self-Sufficient Otaniemi 2030 project is to make the Otaniemi campus energy self-sufficient by 2030. An energy self-sufficient campus requires a comprehensive campus-wide energy system, in which the production, transfer, distribution, storage and consumption of energy support one another. It is essential that consumption can be reduced to reach this goal.

The aim of the project is to define the technical and financial conditions and guidelines for building a comprehensive campus-wide energy system. Energy self-sufficiency ensures, above all, the cost-efficiency of Aalto CRE's energy procurement in the long term. The project will be carried out in phases.

The reference point for the goal set is year 2014 when the Energy Self-Sufficient Otaniemi 2030 project was launched. At the time, nearly all energy consumed in the buildings located on campus and owned by Aalto was produced outside Otaniemi, with Otaniemi having only small-scale production.

Most of the Aalto CRE buildings have been built in the 1960s. The energy efficiency of these buildings can be improved and the functionality of their facilities can be enhanced to correspond to current requirements through renovations.

Energy consumption and production on campus

Building a sustainable campus


Otakaari 1 renovation

The renovation of the building was a massive project that was carried out in four phases during 2007–2015

Kampus campus Kuva: Unto Rautio / Aalto-yliopisto

School as a Service

One purpose of this experiment is to test flexible and cost-efficient operating models that can later be expanded and scaled to apply to other educational institutes and services

Otakaari 1 Kuva: Aino Huovio / Aalto-yliopisto

Lobby screens as part of campus service communication

The main goals of these lobby screens were to more easily communicate information about modification, repair and maintenance projects in buildings

LED street lamp


Investments in LED lighting have been made in several buildings on the campus - LEDs save energy and reduce the need for maintenance


Lightning system reneval in Maarintalo

The lighting systems of Maarintalo were modernised in Autumn 2013 as the illuminance of the former system fell below recommended limits

campus kampus Otakaari 1 winter talvi Kuva: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto-yliopisto

Utilising local heat production

A Master’s thesis made for the Aalto University Campus & Real Estate (Aalto CRE) in 2015 produced information on advancing the energy self-sufficiency on campus

Maarintie 8

Demand response for district heating in the Maarintie 8 building

The Maarintie 8 building located in Otaniemi houses, among others, the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management and the Department of Electrical Engineering and Automation.

Aalto University/Aino Huovio

Sustainability reports

The core impact of our operations is related to high-quality teaching and education, enabling solutions for pressing sustainability challenges. Developing a sustainable campus is also a key part of our strategy.

Aalto Party 2017. Photo: Aalto University/ Pinja Valja

Sustainable Aalto

Understood through all its dimensions - ecological, social, economic and cultural - we are committed to carrying out our activities in a sustainable manner. For example, we work actively to develop the energy efficiency of our property portfolio and to reduce energy consumption in our campuses.

Aalto University Campus

Instructions and tips for sustainable life

Our green campus is made of small and large activities.

The cover that was submitted for Energy and Environment Sciences
University Published:

Since cooling demand is primarily driven by the sun, could it also be powered by the sun?

The International Energy Agency has dubbed increased global cooling demand as one of the most critical blind spots in today’s energy debate. A new study entitled - Meeting Increased Global Cooling Demand with Photovoltaics during the 21st Century - yields critical new insight to a fundamental question: How much photovoltaics (PV) would be needed to power the world sustainably?
Aalto EIT Services Javor
Research & Art Published:

EIT Festival - 2nd October @Aalto

Welcome to the EIT Festival to discover EIT Innovation Communities in Finland!
Sediment sampling in the historical centre of Venice with the Limnos sampler provided by the Finnish Environmental Institute SYKE. Image: Pauliina Purhonen
Research & Art, Studies Published:

The trip to Venice—in the words of the students

Contemporary design students spent a week in Venice setting up the exhibition and gathering soil samples for the research.
Mika Jalava – The water we eat
Aalto Magazine, Research & Art Published:

The water we eat

Food production accounts for up to 70% of the global consumption of fresh water, the substance that is so essential to life. We need to change our diets to keep the Earth’s water from running out as its population increases rapidly.
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