Solar energy for the University’s needs

The European Sustainable Development Week takes place from 30 May to 5 June. The University of Helsinki has pledged, among other activities, to increase the use of self-produced energy, decrease energy consumption and encourage cycling to work.

The European Sustainable Development Week (ESDW) is a continent-wide initiative to promote and increase the visibility of sustainable development projects. The University of Helsinki is participating in the activities already for the fourth year.

“Our goal during the week is to highlight those measures of sustainable development we are continuously advancing at the University,” says Liaison Manager Tanja Remes.

More self-produced energy in 2018

Among the University’s pledges is the increased use of self-produced energy. In 2017, the solar panels at the Viikki Information Centre and the City Centre Campus, as well as the wood chips power station at the Lammi Biological Station altogether produced 1,900 MWh of energy, the equivalent of about one per cent of the energy consumed by the University’s properties. In 2018, the solar energy plant on the Viikki Campus will be expanded to the roofs of the buildings along Latokartanonkaari and Koetilantie, increasing the production of solar energy.

Several sustainable solutions were used in the renovation of Think Corner, which was opened for the public in the autumn. There are 95 solar panels on the Think Corner roof, with a maximum production of 25 kWp (kilowatt-peak). After the renovation, the service water used at Think Corner is partly heated with the heat lost by the building’s transforming station, while district cooling is employed for keeping it cool.

One of the goals for these sustainable development measures is to decrease the energy and water consumption of the University’s properties by ten per cent by 2025.

“There are several other measures, such as encouraging the staff to cycle to work and improving the employment of doctoral graduates,” Remes continues.

The University of Helsinki is carrying out its sustainable development measures through Commitment 2050 initiatives. Commitment 2050 is a Finnish model aimed at providing support for planning and implementing projects related to sustainable development.

University of Helsinki Commitment 2050 initiatives

Healthy and sustainable forms of workplace travel

The University commits to enacting a programme of measures to advance healthy and sustainable forms of travel. The programme will improve conditions for commuter bicycling for students and staff members and encourage the use of public transit. The objective is to advance workplace wellbeing and reduce the carbon footprint of University students' and staff members’ commutes.

More efficient use of water and energy

The University will reduce the energy and water consumption of its buildings by ten per cent by 2025.

More renewable energy

The University commits to investigating the possibilities to produce renewable energy at or nearby all of its renovation and rebuilding sites.

PhD knowhow for the benefit of society

The University commits to advancing the employment of its doctoral graduates.

Sustainable Development in Teaching (in Finnish)

The commitment advances equal opportunities for wellbeing by promoting both the teaching of sustainable development on all educational levels and the development of teacher training with a focus on students.

Supporting the Sustainable Development in Teaching course

The Unit of Chemistry Teacher Education pledges to offer the grounds for the organisation of the interdisciplinary, student-based Sustainable Development in Teaching course.


Further information on Commitment 2050 website

European Sustainable Development Week website

Prime Minister’s Office extends an invitation to join the European Sustainable Development Week (in Finnish and Swedish only)