Aalto CRE has defined the identification of cost-efficient solutions as one of its critical success factors in order to reach the goal of making Otaniemi self-sufficient in terms of energy by 2030. In the first phase of developing a campus-wide energy solution, it was necessary to investigate the best practices of local energy systems in different campus environments. The concepts being studied also included ownership and investment arrangements, as well as business and agreement models.
During the comparison phase, networks of sustainable development and different campuses, as well as EU programmes, using literature reviews, Internet studies and interviews as research methods. Even though no fully energy self-sufficient campus was found, as many as 18 campuses that produce renewable energy or use a local energy network were identified. Three of these were studied more closely. The studied campuses used, for example, energy storage solutions and smart heating, cooling and power networks based on local natural gas, geothermal energy and solar power.
The study shows that, even though there currently are no fully emission-free and energy self-sufficient campuses, pioneering campuses are already using several advanced energy solutions. The study formed an overview of the energy solutions that are being used in different countries and different operating environments.
The results of the study can be used to evaluate the most suitable energy solutions on a campus level or locally; however, taking into account any project benefits, risks, potential and suitability considering the Otaniemi campus. The identified solutions can be used as examples and templates when considering the investment plans, partnership and financial models, project organisation and long-term visions of the EcoCampus 2030 project.
Aalto CRE will continue to closely monitor the best practices of energy self-sufficiency in order to identify new applicable technological solutions. It will also increase cooperation with researchers and experts to reach the highest level of expertise and to identify innovative ways to implement energy networks and storage technologies.