Wise energy consumption has been a key aspect of our strategy ever since the company was established. The Group’s most significant environmental impacts are associated with construction and property maintenance. The most significant impact comes from the carbon dioxide emissions caused by our housing stock’s energy consumption. In Finland, the energy used by buildings accounts for 39 per cent of total energy consumption, which corresponds to 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.
We boost the energy efficiency of our property portfolio with maintenance and operational measures without compromising on residents’ comfort. Annual property maintenance costs total approximately EUR 140 million, of which just over a third is spent on energy. Greater energy efficiency curbs rises in property maintenance costs and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. If VVO had not used its energy wisely, our costs would have risen dramatically since the turn of the millennium due to increased energy prices.
In 2015, the temperature-corrected consumption of heating energy in VVO Group’s properties decreased by 0.8 per cent (2014: -0.8%) when compared to the previous year. Likewise, water consumption decreased by 1.1 per cent (-0.6%) and electricity consumption by 2.6 per cent (2014: -0.7%).
VVO Group’s operations are based on safe and healthy living conditions. Our property management quality control system (Laaki) helps us maintain energy-efficient building technology settings and ensure healthy living conditions.
Room temperatures and ventilation are automatically monitored in new properties. A good example of this is the advanced ventilation control at Lauri Korpisen katu 10. In older properties, regular sample measurements are taken. Measurement data is utilised in ensuring good living conditions in compliance with the Decree of Housing Health and the energy-efficient use of properties.
In addition to its own developments, VVO Group also engages in energy efficiency partnerships. The Group signed the climate partnership agreement with the City of Helsinki in 2012, and this cooperation continued in 2015. The Group has previously committed to following the Rental Property Action Plan (VAETS), which has set a heating energy savings target of seven per cent compared to 2009. This commitment means that VVO’s savings targets are higher in Helsinki than elsewhere. The Rental Property Action Plan (VAETS) targets for 2016 have already been achieved and, with regard to property electricity consumption, have even been exceeded.
As part of our renovations and new construction projects, VVO Group contributes to the development of efficient lifecycle solutions for residential buildings. Stricter construction regulations also steer us towards more energy-efficient solutions. In the coming years, we will use heat pumps to increase heat recovery ventilation in our existing housing stock.
CO2 emissions caused by heating energy production for VVO’s properties were approximately 54,000 (63,000) tonnes. VVO Group seeks to alleviate the environmental impacts of energy consumption by using carbon-neutral energy for property electricity. District heating is used in 99 per cent of VVO’s properties.
In addition to reducing the environmental impacts of energy consumption, VVO’s environmental work encompasses the recycling of waste, among other things. Utilisation of municipal waste as material or for energy has more than doubled during the past 15 years. The increase in the amount of waste has eaten away some of this achievement. Only approximately one third of all waste is recycled in Finland, but the target for 2016 is 50 per cent.
In late 2015, Enevo Oy’s sensors that monitor the fill level of waste containers were installed in four Lumo properties in Helsinki. Their aim is to increase the transparency, real-time monitoring and cost efficiency of waste management as well as to enable the on-demand emptying of waste containers in the future. The sensors collect and analyse data received from waste containers, enabling cost-efficient waste collection.
The device transmits the waste container status data over a 3G network to a cloud service. VVO Group’s goal is to be among the first to harness the Internet of Things (IoT) for on-demand waste management.
VVO Group has joined the Climate Leadership Council ry (CLC), an active group developing corporate climate work. CLC was established by Finnish top companies and organisations, and its members include 23 leading companies and organisations from various fields, with new members constantly joining.
VVO Group head office in Helsinki has been a Green Office ever since the programme was established. In 2015, the VVO Home Centres in Hämeenlinna and Tampere became Green Offices, and the goal is that eventually, VVO Group will be a national Green Office operator.