Campus in Motion

Campus in Motion

Towards energy self-sufficiency

Sustainability, reduced emissions, new energy solutions, shared resources and the circular economy are global trends that also steer the development of university campuses. The long-term goal of Aalto CRE is to make the Otaniemi campus energy self-sufficient by 2030.


Change in water consumption in 2017 compared with 2014


Change in electricity consumption in 2017 compared with 2014


Change in heat consumption in 2017 compared with 2014


Energy self-sufficiency rate in 2017


Property and Building Sector Energy Efficiency Agreement

Property and Building Sector Energy Efficiency Agreement

TETS contract sets concrete goals and incentives for energy savings

Aalto CRE is committed to reducing the energy consumption on campus by 10.5% from the level of 2014 by 2025. Savings goals have been defined in the Property and Building Sector Energy Efficiency Agreement for facilities (TETS). It has already been signed by 52 real estate companies. TETS is a part of a voluntary system of energy efficiency agreements, covering the whole of Finland, and its aim is to reach the energy savings goals set for Finland.

A new TETS period started in the beginning of 2017, and the previous period ranged from 2008 to 2016. Of the savings goals of 5,350 MWh set for the campus during the previous TETS period, 78% were already fulfilled in 2014. In 2015, the target limit was broken by savings of 110%, or 5,885 MWh. The period ended with an incredible run to the finish line, producing total savings of 13,378 MWh as a result of the energy efficiency investments made during the renovations of Otakaari 1, Otaniementie 9 and Runeberginkatu 14. During the 2017-2025 period, the goal is to produce savings of 10.5% from the level of 2014. An interim goal is to produce savings of 7% by the year 2020. The aim is to have as significant savings as possible, right from the start. Consumption figures in 2014 were 36 155 MWh of electricity, 50 465 MWh of heat and 150 038 m3 of water.

By joining the energy savings agreements, the participant gets the possibility to obtain state subsidies for different energy efficiency investments. In the big picture, the contracting companies and municipalities join forces to fulfil the energy savings obligations of Finland set by the EU. The most significant renewable energy projects in the campus already carried out are the geoenergy heat pumps installed in Dipoli and the solar panels installed on the roofs of Maarintie 8 and the CS-building. More information about the energy efficiency agreements is available on Motiva's energiatehokkuussopimukset2017– web pages.

EcoCampus 2030

EcoCampus 2030

Energy self-sufficient Otaniemi 2030

The goal of the Energy Self-Sufficient Otaniemi 2030, or EcoCampus 2030, project is to make the Otaniemi campus energy self-sufficient by 2030. An energy self-sufficient campus requires a comprehensive campus-wide energy system, in which the production, transfer, distribution, storage and consumption of energy support one another smartly. In order to reach this goal, it is essential that consumption can be reduced.

The aim of the EcoCampus 2030 project is to define the technical and financial conditions and guidelines for building a comprehensive campus-wide energy system. Energy self-sufficiency ensures, above all, the cost-efficiency of Aalto CRE's energy procurement in the long term. The project will be carried out in phases.

The starting and reference point for the goal set is the year 2014 when the Energy Self-Sufficient Otaniemi 2030 project was launched. By then, nearly all energy consumed in the buildings located on campus and owned by Aalto was produced outside Otaniemi, with Otaniemi only having small-scale production.

Most of the Aalto CRE buildings have been built in the 1960s and thus are reaching their age of renovation in their lifecycles. During renovations, the energy efficiency of these buildings can be improved and the functionality of their facilities can be enhanced to correspond to current requirements.


The combined power consumption of all Aalto CRE buildings was 33 GWh in 2016. In relation to square metres, their average power consumption was 95 kWh/m2.

This consumption is not divided equally between all buildings, as the six most power-hungry buildings consume approximately 50% of all electricity. Even minor energy efficiency improvements in these six buildings are significant considering the total consumption. Electricity for Aalto CRE is acquired via Nord Pool.

Currently, the output of small-scale electricity production is 310.8 MWh in Otaniemi. Electricity is mainly produced by solar panels on roofs, and this figure accounts for 1% of all electricity.

In 2013, some of the electricity procured was certified as renewable energy. In 2014 and 2015, nearly all electricity consumed was covered by certified bio and wind power, in addition to local production. Starting from 2016, all electricity consumed has been covered using renewable forms of energy.  Certified electricity includes a guarantee of origin, i.e. the seller of the electricity must produce at least as much electricity as is indicated in the guarantee using the forms of energy indicated in the guarantee.


Aalto CRE's buildings are connected to Fortum's district heating network. Their combined consumption of district heating was 46 GWh in 2016. In relation to square metres, the average heat consumption was 130 kWh/m2.

In Espoo, district heating is mainly produced at combined heat and power (CHP) plants that use natural gas and coal. To cover peak heat consumption mainly in the winter time, heat is produced in the Otaniemi district heating plant. The plant uses natural gas and heavy fuel oil. Otakaari 1 uses district heat made from renewable sources. 

Deep Heat, the geothermal heat plant project of St1, is in progress in Otaniemi. Its aim is to drill deep holes in to the Earths crust for obtaining geothermal heat. It is estimated that the pilot production plant for geothermal heat will be completed in 2019. When completed, the plant is estimated to cover up to 10% of all district heating needed in Espoo.

According to a survey conducted by the Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), the Otaniemi area has at least good and partly excellent geoenergy potential. As a result of the survey, heat from geoenergy is now used, for example, in Dipoli. Heat from geoenergy is also used in Konemiehentie 1 (Saha), Otaranta 4 (Aalto Inn) and Biologinkuja 2 (Väre), which is still under construction. In addition, a geoenergy heat pump will be installed in Sähkömiehentie 3 (Maarintalo) in the near future. Currently, Aalto CRE buildings produce approximately 856 MWh of geothermal heat per year, covering 2% of total consumption.

In addition to heat from geoenergy, 20–25 MWh of heat is produced per year using solar thermal energy in Aalto Inn and Otakaari 5.


In some of the campus buildings, cooling energy is produced mechanically using a compressor-driven cooling unit. Geoenergy systems are also used for cooling in the summer. In addition, some buildings are equipped with air source heat pumps that act as separate cooling units.

As the power consumption of the cooling units is not measured separately, the need for cooling is estimated on the basis of energy reviews and audits conducted in the buildings. The total cooling energy consumption is approximately 1,000 MWh per year.

Potential to reduce consumption

The current energy consumption of buildings is monitored and reported regularly in accordance with the TETS agreement. In addition to the size of a building, the activities carried out inside a building have a significant impact on the total energy consumption. In particular, the use of buildings, such as operating hours and ways of use, determine the buildings' energy effiency to a great extent.