Carbon Diet Our Way for Sustainable Construction

BLOG - May 10th 2016

Project “Low carbon construction innovation and action network” is financed by the EU regional development program and City of Kouvola. We have four merited partners to conclude the project, three Universities (Aalto, Lappeenranta and Helsinki with their Ruralia institute) and our local Kymenlaakso University of Applied Sciences.       

As project’s case study, the project will calculate new local wooden prefabricated day care centre’s carbon footprint in construction and with life cycle operational costs, in general estate’s carbon economy, life-cycle costs as well as regional economic impact with more wood in City’s realized public service buildings. 
This wooden day care centre under examination is third in a row in Kouvola. This one was completed in May 2014. Aalto University has already in their calculations stated as building’s strengths lightweight foundation (steel piles), low carbon skeletal constructions (wooden frame and external walls with facades) and excellent energy performance value (calculated E (net) = 71 kWh/m2). For example, this estate’s construction phase carbon emissions 43 % originates today from soil and subgrade, plus in the other end of estate’s surface and yard structures.  
Besides, heat for this building is produced with the help of geothermal energy, produced with the help of electric pump. The first full year shows energy costs related to heating, according to Lappeenranta technical university’s (LUT) calculations the geothermal heating reduces costs to halve, to 5,4 €/sqm2/a. As life cycle costs, calculated for 25-year period of utilization, energy costs represent today, with present value method, of the whole, only 10 % of the costs.

Why on a diet? 

We believe we manage to create a model for city’s low carbon and resource efficiency greenfield construction and use, as well as ideas for supplementary construction plans. There’s also underlying becoming directives and recommendations to procurements for low carbon purchases, nearly zero energy buildings as well as resource efficiency as a whole. We have taken this active role in low carbon construction in trust we will produce information and ways to act which directs to more knowledge based competitiveness among “wood actors” here in Kouvola and further leading to organic growth, both in figures and as new workplaces. 

I here could continue about resource efficiency, transferability and building reusage, but that’s another story for another time. 


Tero Hasu
Project Manager, Bio Valley


(Photo: Raine Pyötsiä)