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 campus 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.
Carbon neutral campus 2030
The former target to achieve Energy self-sufficient Otaniemi 2030 has been updated to aim towards carbon neutrality by 2030. Energy consumption is the biggest part of campus emissions, so promoting a holistic and smart regional energy system is still at the core of reducing emissions. For example, Aalto Works Energy solution is an innovative project to make a local block self-sufficient.
Aalto University planning guidelines
Aalto University's planning guidelines define the objectives for the design of the university's buildings, their facilities and signs. The principles of sustainable development and accessibility are followed in the development and use of the facilities. In renovation and new projects, the goal is energy and resource efficiency as well as the utilization of renewable energy sources as comprehensively as possible.
Ventilation uses the most efficient heat recovery possible.
Ventilation is carried out in new projects with cooling. In renovation sites where ventilation is renewed, cooling is determined on a case-by-case basis.
At sites where technology is being renewed, room-specific heating and room cooling will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and controlled according to demand.
The indoor air class is S2-S3 (RT 07-10946)
Energy-efficient appliances are preferred in electrical appliance choices
The lighting uses presence sensors and, where possible, appropriate light control together with ventilation and temperature control
Demand response and IoT technologies are used to control energy use.
In lighting, the aim is to create individual lighting programs in different zones and to control the lighting on a zone-by-zone basis. Lighting should be easy to maintain and energy efficient.
In construction and renovation projects, LED luminaires are preferred and appropriate light control is taken into account. The goal is motion detection as well as individual lighting control for each zone.
Resource-efficient use of water is promoted by favoring flush or waterless flushing devices and harmonizing the placement of washbasins and bidets. Water taps operate with motion detectors. Disabled toilets are designed according to the RT card.
A water tap or water point is placed in or near toilets for filling drinking bottles.
Energy consumption and production on campus
The combined power consumption of all campus buildings was 35 GWh in 2021. In relation to square metres, their average power consumption was 98,4 kWh/m2. This consumption is not divided equally between all buildings, as the six most power-hungry buildings consume approximately 50% of all electricity. Even minor energy efficiency improvements in these six buildings are significant considering the total consumption. Electricity for Aalto CRE is acquired via Nord Pool.
There are a total of 5 solar power plants in the campus:
Sähkömiehentie 3: 103 kWp
Konemiehentie 2: 116,5 kWp
Maarintie 8: 122,4 kWp
Otaniementie 14: 203 kWp
Otaranta 4: 5,1 kWp
In 2013, some of the electricity procured was certified as renewable energy. In 2014 and 2015, nearly all electricity consumed was covered by certified bio and wind power, in addition to local production. Starting from 2016, all electricity consumed has been covered using renewable forms of energy. Certified electricity includes a guarantee of origin, i.e. the seller of the electricity must produce at least as much electricity as is indicated in the guarantee using the forms of energy indicated in the guarantee. During the year 2021, all electricity procured was certified as Finnish wind power.
Campus buildings are connected to Fortum's district heating network. The combined consumption of heating energy was 48 GWh in 2021. In relation to square metres, the average heat consumption was 135,4 kWh/m2.
In Espoo, district heating is produced at combined heat and power (CHP) plants that use natural gas and coal, the Kivenlahti bio power plant and with a continuously increasing amount of various industrial scale heat pumps. Coal as a fuel is set to be displaced by 2025. To cover the peak heat consumption of Otaniemi mainly in the coldest winter time, heat is produced in the Otaniemi district heating plant. The plant uses natural gas and heavy fuel oil.
District heating certified as originating from 100% renewable sources is procured to the buildings Kemistintie 1, Konemiehentie 2, Maarintie 8, Otakaari 1, 4 and 24, Otaniementie 9, Puumiehenkuja 2 and 3, Sähkömiehentie 3 and 4 as well as the Metro block, i.e. Otaniementie 12 and 4 and Ekonominaukio 1.
Otaniemi is an area which is beneficial for generating geoenergy – the biggest conventional geoenergy plant in Otaniemi is located in the middle of the campus, under the Metro block -building (Otaniementie 12, 14 and Ekonominaukio 1). The average yearly geonergy production at the campus is 2550 MWh, which corresponds to roughly 5,5% of all the heating energy consumed.
Geoenergy on the campus is produced:
Otakaari 24: approx. 750 MWh a year
Otaniementie 14: approx. 1700 MWh a year
In addition to the above, the Aalto Inn researcher hotel uses a system in which ground heat covers nearly 75% of all heat consumption, while the district heating network covers the rest. The Saha building also uses a ground heat system. These two buildings annually use 100–200 MWh of thermal energy produced by means of ground heat.
In some of the campus buildings, cooling energy is produced mechanically using a compressor-driven cooling unit. Geoenergy systems are also used for cooling in the summer. In addition, some buildings are equipped with air source heat pumps that act as separate cooling units.
As the power consumption of the cooling units is not measured separately, the need for cooling is estimated on the basis of energy reviews and audits conducted in the buildings. The total cooling energy consumption is approximately 1,000 MWh per year.
On the campus we are actively working to reduce water consumption. To use water resources effectively we are using water-saving or non-water plumbing fixtures. All of the urinals are non-water.
Water consumption in the buildings owned by Aalto University was 65 406 m3 on the year 2021. The effect of the corona pandemic and the resulting remote work can be seen from the figure. Water consumption during the year 2019 was 119 951 m3.
Sustainable Mobility Action Plan for the Otaniemi Campus
Aalto University aims to be a pioneer in sustainable mobility, and the Otaniemi campus is the perfect test bed for this goal. The Sustainable Mobility Action Plan for the Otaniemi campus has been drawn up as user-oriented and in interaction with the Aalto community.
Aalto CRE is committed to reducing campus energy consumption regarding to the national energy effiency agreement for facilities (TETS).
Building a sustainable campus
The main goals of these lobby screens were to more easily communicate information about modification, repair and maintenance projects in buildings
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.
Science, technology and arts play an important role in solving global sustainability problems. Aalto University’s strength is its strong multidisciplinary approach to humanity’s greatest challenges, such as environmental crises.
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.