Environmental responsibility

The focus areas of our environmental responsibility are property development, energy efficiency, cooperation and the reduction of emissions.

Property development

Property development is an essential aspect of a property owner’s environmental responsibility. Property development involves making far-reaching decisions and creating guidelines for environmentally friendly operations. The investment decision is also the stage in a building’s life cycle when it is possible to make significant leaps forward.

In assessing the life cycle environmental impacts of today’s energy efficient buildings, the environmental impacts of the construction phase are of greater relative significance than before. The energy consumed by construction and the environmental impacts of the manufacture and transport of construction materials are significant, which is why they deserve attention.

One 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 facilitates the construction of buildings whose environmental footprint is minimised.

Property development determines the guidelines for environmentally-friendly operations.

Energy efficiency and cooperation

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.

In June 2017, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment, the Ministry of the Environment, the Energy Authority and Motiva granted us an honourable mention for our exemplary, effective and long-term efforts to improve the efficiency of energy consumption as part of the business premises action plan under the real estate sector’s energy efficiency agreement for 2011–2016. As we were the only operator among a large group of well-known owners of commercial properties to receive the honourable mention, we consider it to be a significant achievement and valuable proof of the meaningful work that we do.

Honourable mention for our exemplary, effective and long-term efforts to improve the efficiency of energy consumption

In addition to focusing on the energy efficiency of our buildings, we have increasingly paid attention to the origin of the energy consumed at our buildings.

In 2017, we commissioned a thesis in cooperation with Granlund Consulting focused on using renewable energy to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions of campuses. One of the benefits of Eveliina Salerma’s thesis was that we obtained information on the potential for using rooftop solar for nearly all of our buildings. We also gained access to valuable information on reducing the energy-related emissions of our campuses by using geothermal energy and hydropower.

With respect to energy, we see ourselves as part of society and part of a larger system, which is why we take a comprehensive view on the issue. The best solutions for the big picture can only be identified through cooperation with the various parties involved.

One example of good cooperation during the year was Kuopion Energia starting a more detailed analysis of the environmental impacts of its energy production, at our initiative, taking the full fuel life cycle into consideration. Mari Javanainen at the University of Oulu wrote a thesis on the carbon dioxide emissions of Kuopion Energia’s heating and electricity production. Among other things, the thesis provided useful information on the effect of different calculation methods on the magnitude of specific emission factors. The thesis also highlighted the fact that the calculation methods used for emission factors are highly variable and there is a lack of guidance that would make calculations more consistent.

We received an honourable mention for our efforts to improve energy efficiency during the period 2011–2016.

Energy consumption and emissions

The solar power systems located at the Lappeenranta, Kuopio and Jyväskylä campuses, as well as the Kauppi and Hervanta campuses in Tampere, generated a total of 240 MWh of solar power in 2017. While this represents only 0.18 per cent of the total electricity consumption of our campuses, new systems are making solar power more significant in reducing the environmental impacts of our operations.

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 average electricity consumption of the properties managed by SYK in 2017 was 105.5 kWh, the weather-adjusted heating consumption was approximately 149.8 kWh and water consumption was 268.9 litres per gross square metre. The production of the energy consumed by our buildings in 2017 generated 54,700 tonnes of CO2 emissions (2016: 57,050 tonnes)

We are part of the new TETS energy efficiency agreement for the period 2017–2025. The ambitious target of 7.5 per cent in savings in heating energy consumption by 2025 has been broken down into campus-specific and building-specific long-term targets. This will help us identify, and focus on, properties with high potential for savings. We do not believe it would be sensible to pursue these savings evenly across the entire portfolio.

We are pursuing 7.5 per cent savings in energy consumption as part of the new TETS energy efficiency agreement for the period 2017–2025.

Comprehensive 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.

By engaging in regular cooperation with the universities’ Estate Services units, we ensure that the energy optimisation measures implemented take the needs and responsibilities of both parties into account. SYK’s Executive Board monitors the reports by energy managers and they are utilised in making decisions on renovations 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.

A comprehensive and systematic approach to energy management reduces the probability of unexpected events and outcomes.

We have developed our own operating model for energy management, which we utilise on all of our campuses.

Sustainable development indicators

 Year 2017Year 2016Unit
CO₂55 00157 050tonnes CO₂
CO₂43,145,9kg CO₂/gross m²
Purchased energy consumed
Heating, measured170 217169 353MWh
Heating, weather-adjusted147,9141,2kWh/brm²
Electricity131 089129 835MWh
Electricity106,3102,9kWh/gross m²
Produced energy
Solar power produced at our campuses238210MWh
Water consumption
332 585348 541
263,4276,1litres/gross m²
Measuring/evaluating the environmental impacts of buildings
Number of BREEAM certified buildings32number
Number of BREEAM certified plans75number
Number of BREEAM-registered projects119number
Share of environmentally certified BREEAM buildings of all newly constructed buildings100100%
Adherence to TETS energy efficiency agreement100100%

Year-by-year comparison 2013–2017

Year20172016201520142013unitChange 2013–2017
Heating energy, weather-adjusted147,9141,2145,9146,5158,6kWh/gross m²-6,8 %
Electricity106,3102,999,8105,0107,5kWh/gross m²-1,1 %
CO2 emissions of purchased energy (heating+electricity)43,145,943,045,945,9kg CO2 /gross m²-6,2 %
Water consumption263,4276,1292,1295,0267,2dm³/gross m²-1,4 %