Building a sustainable future

Text: Mari Lähteenmäki | Photo: Anssi Kumpula

The Student Union JYY started to construct buildings in the 1970’s, but it was only in the 2010’s that the student representatives’ interest in the environmental aspects of property development was awoken.

In 2020, the Soihtu business unit of JYY has established the principles of sustainability into its business strategy, and is developing its properties with the environmental viewpoint widely considered.

The ages of the properties vary greatly

One of the challenges in the Soihtu property maintenance is that the buildings are of different ages. It’s self-evident that a building from the late 1960’s cannot meet the same standards as a modern property. There are, however, some measures that have been taken also when it comes to the older buildings: “The water consumption of MNOP and KL buildings has decreased significantly with the installation of water-saving plumbing fixtures”, says Kimmo Moilanen, the Chief Real Estate Officer of Soihtu.

On the other end of the Soihtu property spectre is Soihtu Korttelikylä, a housing location to be built in Mäki-Matti. Soihtu Korttelikylä will represent the most modern apartment construction, with an energy class reaching for an ambitious A.

The best possible energy class will give the buildings a smaller carbon footprint and work as a guarantee for a more expectable rent development. The owner of Soihtu, the Student Union JYY, has had its carbon footprint calculated. A roadmap to a carbon-neutral future will be set out in the fall of 2020. However, when it comes to large-scale property development projects such as this one, the time for action steps is now. “Reducing the carbon footprint of our daily processes will be our guideline for the future years and decades”, says Timo Lahtinen, Soihtu’s CEO.

“Reducing the carbon footprint of our daily processes will be our guideline for the future years and decades”

Timo Lahtinen, CEO, Soihtu

The Soihtu Korttelikylä will be located on a plot of land on Nuuskakuja. Before the construction starts in the fall of 2020, there will be massive earthwork on the site to remove contaminated land. The plot was first cleaned by the previous user, a gas station, some decades ago. However, Soihtu wants to make certain that not even the slightest trace of odour remain to effect the residential comfort.

Increase in comfort, decrease in emissions

Another massive project is the renovation of the Tower blocks, carried out between 2017 and 2022 in Kortepohja Student Village. Along with a large increase in the residential comfort, the carbon footprint of the buildings’ entire lifespan is reduced by a whopping 30%, granting Green Bond funding for each phase of the development.

Not only will the carbon emissions of the future tenant be smaller than their contemporary counterparts, but also will they get to enjoy a large increase in the amount of bicycle storage space. Almost 300 spots in bike storages and racks will be added in the area during the final two phases of the Tower blocks’ renovation.

The text has been published previously in the Kylä magazine 2 / 2020.

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