Environmental responsibility

The focus areas of our environmental responsibility are construction, energy consumption and healthy indoor air.

Property development

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.

Energy consumption and emissions

We manage property assets with a combined gross area of some 1.3 million square metres. Due to the scale of our property assets, the environmental impacts of energy consumption are a focus area of our environmental responsibility.
We have placed—and will continue to place—more and more attention on the environmental impacts of the energy consumed at our buildings as well as the origin of district heating, specific emission factors and the calculation methods used for the factors. We pursue renewable energy alternatives as necessary. In 2016, a total of 210 MWh of solar power was produced on our campuses.

We calculate our CO2 emissions based on our consumption of purchased energy and specific emission factors. For electricity, we apply an emission factor that matches the purchasing channel, for example, emission factors that take green electricity into account. As our operations are dispersed throughout Finland, we use local factors for heating that take into account the local method of producing heating. We have determined the emissions arising from the energy consumption of our buildings in this manner since 2013. The production of the energy consumed by our buildings in 2016 generated 57,050 tonnes of CO2 emissions (2013: 59,305 tonnes)

The average electricity consumption of the properties managed by SYK in 2016 was 102.9 kWh, the weather-adjusted heating consumption was approximately 141.2 kWh and water consumption was 276.1 litres per gross square metre. In 2011, we committed to the energy efficiency agreement for commercial properties (TETS). The objective was to carry out energy efficiency improvement measures related to the heating energy consumption of our buildings to achieve computational savings of at least 6 per cent of the consumption figure for 2010, which amounted to 11,420 MWh. As of the end of 2016, there were 256 savings measures in effect and their total annual heating energy savings effect was 12,205 MWh. This means that we exceeded our TETS target by 7 per cent.

We were among the first to sign up for the new TETS agreement period. We set a goal of implementing energy savings measures during the 2017–2025 period with a computational savings effect of 7.5 per cent of the heating energy consumption figure for 2015. Our progress towards that target will be guided by an interim target of achieving 4 per cent in savings by 2020.

The environmental impacts of energy consumption are a focus area of our environmental responsibility.

Energy optimisation

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.

Indicators of Sustainable Development

 NoteUnit 2016
CO₂absolute valuetons of CO₂57 050
CO₂specific per areaCO₂ kg /gross m²45,9
Purchased Energy
Heat, measured absolute valueMWh169 353
Heat, weather-normalizedspecific per areakWh/gross m²141,2
Electricityabsolute valueMWh129 835
Electricityspecific per areakWh/gross m²102,9
Produced Energy
Electricity by PV at Our Campusesabsolute valueMWh210
Water Consumption
absolute value348 541
specific per arealitre/gross m2276,1
Estimating Environmental Effects of Our Buildings
Number of BREEAM Ratingspcs4
Share of new buildings with BREEAM certification Years 2015-2016%100
Following national energy agreement TETSLast period of 2010-2016%107

Yearly comparison 2013 – 2016

 2016201520142013% Change
from 2013 to 2016
Measured Heat Energy
Absolute value (MWh)
169 353154 037168082169 788-0,3 %
Weather-Normalized Heat Energy
kWh/gross m2
141,2145,9146,5158,6-11,0 %
MWh129 835122 011124 485124 485
kWh/gross m2
102,999,8105,0107,5-4,3 %
Emissions (El + Heat)
tons of CO2
57 05052 30059 27459 305-3,8 %
CO2 kg/gross m2
Water Consumption
litre/gross m2276,1292,1295,0267,2+3,3 %