Heating is monitored and controlled with room-level accuracy in one of the most energy-efficient office buildings in Finland. During 2018, the Viikki Environment House in Helsinki achieved 8% of further savings in weather-corrected energy consumption thanks to this mySMARTLife solution. Furthermore, demand response in district heating grids is being piloted in Helsinki for the first time.
There are two ways of reducing the total carbon footprint of a building: either by producing sustainable energy and heating on-site or by trying to minimise energy and heating consumption. mySMARTLife Helsinki partner Fourdeg focuses on the latter with smart thermostats. The thermostats optimise and control the entire district heating water flow in the premises, depending on the actual heating requirement at any given moment. Fourdeg Smart Heating® ensures that heating is turned down when rooms are not occupied. In addition, heating and ventilation are scheduled in alignment. This ensures that the two systems are not working against each other, whether it be heating or cooling.
With its 70kWh/m2 energy consumption, the Viikki Environment House is placed in the highest A+ energy class. Currently, the office building hosts the Urban Environment Division of the City of Helsinki. Thanks to the installed smart heating control system, the heating consumption of the building could be reduced by 8% compared to the weather-corrected consumption in 2017. That accounts for 38MWh, with which one can drive up to 45 thousand kilometres by car. In total, 6,7 tCO2,e were saved in a year.
In addition to Fourdeg thermostats and all the original energy-saving solutions, the building is participating in demand-side management of electricity and heating consumption realised by another mySMARTLife partner, the municipal energy company Helen. In practice, this means that the energy consumption of the building is more evenly distributed during the daily 24-hour usage period to avoid utilising the most expensive and environmentally unfriendly peak hour energy. Most of the energy is generated with stable, low-cost solutions such as nuclear energy. The usage peaks are met with quick bursts of energy powered by unsustainable and expensive solutions because of their temporary nature. On average, the highest usage peak takes place in the morning when occupants of an office building prepare themselves for the day and the heating of the building starts.
The Urban Environment Division workers occupying the building have been very content with the indoor air temperature. According to a questionnaire, the temperature has been very stable and pleasant. The maintenance staff has also gained a greater control over the building thanks to Fourdeg’s cloud access. Mira Jarkko works in the Viikki Environment House as an environment specialist. She has not noticed any difference in the temperature. This made her wonder whether any adjustments have been made. This is the ideal situation where the energy savings do not affect the perceived temperature of the end-users.
Through these tasks, Viikki Environment House continues to be a showcase for sustainable and affordable solutions in the built environment.