In today’s energy-efficient buildings, the environmental impacts of the construction phase have notably more significance for the building’s life cycle impacts. The energy consumed by construction and the environmental impacts of the manufacture and transport of construction materials are substantial and deserving of attention.
The most important aspect of environmental responsibility related to construction is ensuring that energy and construction materials are not wasted. Also important are efficient logistics and sensible choices of construction locations.
We apply the BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Methodology) environmental classification system in assessing new construction projects and major renovation projects. The system is intended to facilitate the construction of buildings whose environmental footprint is minimised.
The BREEAM system guides the design, construction and use of buildings. It evaluates the environmental impacts of buildings from nine different perspectives: management, energy, water, materials, health, land use, waste, emissions and transport.
The most important aspect of property development is ensuring that energy and construction materials are not wasted.
The environmental impacts of energy consumption are a focus area of our environmental responsibility.
Optimising the use of energy at properties can achieve significant improvements in energy efficiency and consumption.
Our goal is to optimise energy consumption in everything we do. Optimisation refers to the broad evaluation of energy consumption, involving the comprehensive examination of the comprehensive impacts of energy management choices, from equipment procurement to building repairs, taking the life cycle impacts into account.
We optimise energy consumption in such a way as to also ensure that the conditions in our buildings are safe and healthy.
Realising these goals requires active cooperation with the users of premises. We use cooperation to influence the way property users consume energy in their own activities. We pursue energy economic solutions and operating methods together with our customers.
Operating model for energy management
We have developed our own operating model for energy management, which we utilise on all of our campuses.
The practical implementation of the model at each campus is the responsibility of the campus manager and the energy manager, whose focus is on the optimisation of energy consumption. They are responsible for campus maintenance and they monitor energy consumption and identify measures for optimising energy consumption.
Regular cooperation with the universities’ Estate Services units ensures that the energy optimisation measures implemented take the needs and responsibilities of both parties into account. Reports by energy managers are monitored by the Executive Board of University Properties of Finland Ltd and utilised in making decisions on renovation and repairs. We also carefully monitor the effectiveness of implemented measures.
We make decisions on measures to quickly promote the energy optimisation of buildings, such as changes to adjustable equipment settings and usage times, based on assessments of the current state of campuses and energy consumption measurements.
Projects requiring significant investment are recorded in the annual repair system. When building technology is replaced and upgraded, energy managers estimate what equipment represents the best solution in terms of energy consumption and the other requirements for the equipment in question.
The BREEAM environmental classification system also supports energy management. The Faculty of Sciences Building II at the University of Turku, the Kampusareena building at the Tampere University of Technology and the Ruusupuisto new construction project at the University of Jyväskylä received BREEAM Very Good certification for their design and use phases.
Healthy indoor air
Maintaining healthy indoor air quality in all of our buildings is a matter of pride for us in our maintenance operations.
Our indoor air quality operating model was developed in the early 2010s, and it has since been implemented on all of our campuses. Our operating model for communications on indoor air quality was developed in partnership with the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health.
We regularly evaluate the operating model for indoor air quality and the related development needs in cooperation with experts.
We conduct and commission studies that support our indoor air quality model. During the past year, we participated in a project conducted by Sirate Oy to study air purifiers and their performance. We also participated in Keys to a Healthy Building, a project implemented by the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Tampere University of Technology and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities.
The year 2016 was uneventful with regard to indoor air quality problems. We evaluate all feedback sent to us, carry out additional investigations as necessary and locate and fix any problems.