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. 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 helps build buildings that are as environmentally friendly as possible.
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 addition to focusing on the energy efficiency of our buildings, we increasingly pay attention to the source of the energy consumed at our buildings. 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.
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 236 MWh of solar power in 2018. While this represents only 0.17 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.
The average electricity consumption of the properties managed by SYK in 2018 was 109.2 kWh, the weather-adjusted heating consumption was approximately 144.7 kWh and water consumption was 273.4 litres per gross square metre. The production of the energy consumed by our buildings in 2018 generated 51,663 tonnes of CO2 emissions (2017: 54,700 tonnes).
We have joined the Property and Building Sector 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 TETS energy efficiency agreement for the period 2017–2025.
Comprehensive energy management
We have developed an energy management operating model that is used 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. Together, 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.