The event organised by SYKLI in the framework of the LIFE EconomisE project gathered the representatives of various institutions and cities. The speakers included Raimo Lovio - professor emeritus from the Aalto University – who shared ideas in the field of energy sources. Lovio pointed out that concentrating on energy efficiency alone is not sufficient for tackling the challenges of climate change. It is equally important to bring about versatile solutions at the energy source end.
One of the aims of the EconomisE project is to identify the bottlenecks of the decision-making and implementation processes concerning energy efficiency improvements in buildings. Finding feasible financial solutions seems to constitute one of the most common challenges. Antti Kontio from the Municipality Finance (MuniFin) told about the possibilities to apply for green bonds - loans and leasing – for the environmentally friendly projects. Green finance is offered to selected projects that promote the transition to low-carbon and climate resilient growth.
The hindering impact of the financial aspects was also stressed by the respondents to the questionnaire released by SYKLI and the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities. The replies offer an insight into versatile needs of the Finnish municipalities depending on their size and location. This aspect will be taken into consideration by SYKLI in the process of planning the training package content. The results of the questionnaire will be published later this spring.
The event offered also a forum for presenting practical examples of successful initiatives and projects in the field of energy efficiency and circular economy. Saara Vauramo from the city of Lahti - one of the European Green Capital 2020 candidates – introduced some of Lahti’s environmental solutions. Elina Hienonen from the Helsinki Parish Union offered an insight into the challenges faced by an organisation managing highly diverse estates such as, for instance, churches. Despite the lack of legal requirements concerning improving energy efficiency in churches, the Helsinki Parish Union has actively strived to decrease energy consumption in its buildings.
The wrap-up discussion gave an opportunity to cover future challenges and some potential solutions. The lack of intent and skills, poor availability of resources, as well as doubts concerning the return on investment all hinder launching new projects. The situation might be improved by offering objective information and an overall picture to the decision-makers. Decisions concerning energy efficiency retrofits should depend on the concept of investments with annual interest rates rather than on the return on investment.
Currently, no institution in Finland holds the power to improve the energy efficiency of the building stock alone. This process requires searching for synergies and cooperation possibilities with other actors active in this field.