Energy efficiency, reduction of emissions and cooperation at the core of our operations

In three years, more than half of our premises will have an environmental certificate

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. The biggest project in our history, the Aurum being built for Åbo Akademi University and the University of Turku, will be completed next year, and we will apply for the BREEAM level of Excellent for it. Aurum will have geothermal heating and a large number of solar panels, for example.

In 2019, we also made preparations for the BREEAM In-Use environmental certification of existing buildings. This shows that we also want to pay particular attention to the environmental friendliness of existing buildings and their maintenance. We will receive the first certificates for our old buildings during 2020. Our overall target is that more than 50 per cent of the floor area we own will hold environmental certificates by the end of 2022.

A more accurate calculation of the carbon footprint supports us on the way towards carbon-neutral campuses

Our goal is for our campuses to be the most responsible campuses in Europe by 2030. We utilise renewable and smart energy solutions as we move towards carbon-neutral campuses. As part of this major goal, in 2019 we improved the accuracy of our calculation of the company-level carbon footprint, which will in the future help us gain a more comprehensive understanding of the way our carbon footprint is created. Our assessment is that the coverage of our emissions accounting is very good. Assumptions and simplifications have to made in the calculations, and our aim is to further improve the accuracy of accounting in the future.

Construction and property maintenance are at the core of our operations, which is why a better understanding of their environmental impacts will allow us to make choices in the future that will better support sustainable development. Last year, we also had the pleasure of helping some universities to determine their carbon footprints. We also made preparations last year for a major emissions compensation programme alongside our carbon mitigation work.

The general trend is to switch to renewable alternatives for sources of energy, and there is an increasingly varied range of alternative energy sources available. This also supports our determination to choose energy sources with as low emissions as possible.

Last year, we also promoted the theme of diversity of nature by making preparations for a 2020 nature assessment of campuses. Our aim is to get to know the nature in campuses even better and to support the diversity of nature at the campuses, for example with regard to construction and maintenance activities.

The carbon footprint of our company consists of heating, the construction of new buildings and renovation of existing ones, waste materials, maintenance repairs, electricity, refrigerants, water and the travels and office supplies of our personnel. In 2019, our carbon footprint was 39,764 tonnes of CO2e (2018: 40,993 tonnes of CO2e) i.e. 31.9 kg CO2e/gross m2/annum.

Continuous development in support of energy efficiency

We manage property assets with a total 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.

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 415 MWh of solar power in 2019. That is only 0.29 per cent of all the electrical energy consumed at our campuses. However, thanks to new systems, the relative share of solar power produced at the campuses is on the increase; in 2018 the figure was 0.17 per cent.

We calculate our energy-related CO2 emissions on the basis of 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 district heating that take into account the local method of producing heating energy.

The average electricity consumption of the properties managed by SYK in 2019 was 116.6 kWh, the weather-adjusted heating consumption was approximately 154.9 kWh and water consumption was 263.9 litres per gross square metre.

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 are progressing towards the target according to the plan. Our actions in progressing towards the target include the replacement of building automation equipment where necessary and a general increase in the level of automation.

In our maintenance operations last year, we initiated two significant development projects supporting sustainable development: needs-based maintenance and demand response for electricity. We are challenging the now widely used conventional property maintenance, and our goal is a knowledge-based management model where we know significantly better than before what is happening with technology and the circumstances and are therefore able to allocate the resources on the basis of needs. A subtle optimisation of controls will also allow the increasing use of renewable energy sources in future power generation and will reduce the carbon footprint in the national grid.

Sustainable development indicators

 

 2019*2018*20172016Unit
Emission
CO2397634099355 00157 050tons of CO2
CO231,932,043,145,9kg CO2/brm2
Consumption of purchased energy
Heating, measured182 321173 146170 217169 353MWh
Heating, weather-adjusted154,9144,7147,9141,2kWh/brm2
Electricity140 970138 520131 089129 835MWh
Electricity116,6109,2106,3102,9kWh/brm2
Produced energy
Solar power produced at our campuses415235,5238210MWh
Water consumption
Total amount331 849330 935332 585348 541m3
Relative to floor area263,9273,4263,4276,1litres/brm2
Measuring/evaluating the environmental impacts of buildings
Number of BREEAM certified buildings, cumulative total6432build.
Number of BREEAM certified plans, cumulative total10975number
Number of BREEAM certified plans, cumulative total1614119number
Share of environmentally certified BREEAM buildings of all newly constructed buildings100100100100%
Adherence to TETS energy efficiency agreement100100100100%
Waste
Total waste volume335937733945,84211,2tons
Waste recycling rate50,250,753,451,8%

*) Laskentatapa vaihtunut.

Year-by-year comparison 2015–2019

 

 20192018201720162015Unit
Heating energy, weather-adjusted154,9144,7147,9141,2145,9kWh/brm²
Electricity116,6109,2106,3102,999,8kWh/brm²
CO2 emissions of purchased energy (heating+electricity)24,926,943,145,943kgCO₂ /brm²
Water consumption263,9273,4263,4276,1292,1dm³/brm²

SYK, emissions calculation results for 2019

CO2 emissions above divided to scopes: Scope 1: 799 tons, Scope 2: 30 019 tons and Scope 3: 8 945 tons.

 

© Suomen Yliopistokiinteistöt Oy 2020