© Juho Talja / WWF
Updated

Municipalities striving for carbon neutrality met in Lappeenranta

The Hinku spring forum, brought together by the Carbon Neutral Municipalities project, took place in April in the Finnish climate capital Lappeenranta.

Kimmo Jarva, the Mayor of Lappeenranta, opened the event by presenting Lappeenranta’s emissions reduction measures. The city has succeeded in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% from the 1990 levels.

Kirkkonummi and Enontekiö joined the Hinku network

Two new Hinku municipalities, Kirkkonummi and Enontekiö, were welcomed to join the endeavour to reach carbon neutrality. “We are very proud and excited to be part of the Hinku network. Expectations are high but reducing emissions starts from what you do yourself,” says Jari Rantapelkonen, the Mayor of Enontekiö.

Kirkkonummi has also started to design ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “We have mapped out energy aid, procurement of solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, timber construction, and moving to using heat and energy created by renewable energy in municipal properties,” says Risto Nikunlaakso, director of development.

Support for sustainable public procurement and energy efficient properties

WWF’s development manager Leena Oiva presented the Life EconomisE project. The project aims to build more resilient low-carbon properties which will raise their value and save in maintenance costs. The project seeks to reach its emissions reduction goals by cooperating with institutional investors, cleantech businesses, cities and municipalities. The project brings those working with buildings together and it offers them education and expertise needed to realise measures to improve energy efficiency.

Juho Talja / WWF
© Juho Talja / WWF
WWF Suomen kehityspäällikkö Leena Oiva.

Communication Specialist Ulla Ala-Ketola from the Finnish Environment Institute and Raija Kautonen from Filtech Oy presented the Energy Leap online service. The basic idea behind Energy Leap is duplication. The service has descriptions of all the previous energy leaps, location information related to energy and community tools such as groups and discussion boards.

New energy innovations

Jarmo Partanen, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Lappeenranta University of Technology, gave a presentation on the second wave of electrification. In addition to the current methods of renewable energy production, there is a need for new innovative ones. Partanen presented a method researched and tested by the Lappeenranta University of Technology, that can be used to create hydrocarbon from harmful CO2 in the atmosphere. That hydrocarbon can be further developed into fuel and even food.

Project Manager Rauli Lautkankare from Turku University of Applied Sciences presented an energy saving solution for properties, where year-round storing of thermal energy to the ground with energy piles and using these stocks as an additional energy source for properties is being studied. The study is a part of the LÄMPÖÄ project.

The power of cooperation between companies and municipalities

In the afternoon, there was a company panel that discussed how companies could support municipalities in reducing emissions. The panel members were Sales Director Jarmo Valvio (OptiWatti Oy), CEO Juha-Pekka Paavola (Finess Energy Oy), R&D Director Raisa Valli (SItowise), specialist Pasi Tainio (Kuntahankinnat), Deputy Manager Jon Forssell (Inspira) and Development Manager Markku Mäki-Hokkonen (City of Lappeenranta).

The panel focused specifically on municipal and joint procurement. Join procurement was seen to have a lot of potential in making cooperation possible. The panellists reminded everyone that procurement includes not only physical procurement but also that of design, service and operations. The panel also highlighted the risk that join procurement might reduce innovativeness if the municipalities have to be content with average quality due to price competition. The panel emphasised that there are many other ways for companies to support the municipalities’ emission reduction schemes.

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