As part of the six-year mySMARTLife project, European Lighthouse city Helsinki is looking to urban solutions to cut 70 percent of greenhouse gases. Along with Nantes and Hamburg, Helsinki is part of the mySMARTLife plan to transform cities into “more sustainable places where smart people and smart economy become reality.”— Philippe Leonard
At the moment, 150 actions are being carried out in these three Lighthouse Cities, with each solution adapted to serve the needs of that particular city. Let’s look at Helsinki in particular and how the capital is building on its past to develop its future. From solar energy-powered homes to electric vehicles, here are four smart ways the city is looking to save on energy while incorporating new construction into its smart city development plan.
- Renewable energy sources: In the demonstration area of Vanhankaupunginlahti (old Town Bay) lies the country’s oldest hydroelectric plant, as well as the world’s most eco-efficient coal-based electricity and heat co-generation plants. One of the major moves forward involves phasing out the coal power plant by 2024 and transitioning toward decentralized production, increasing the use of renewable energy sources.
- Energy efficient homes: The city is refiguring the former harbour and industrial area of Kalasatama and turning it into a testing ground for new construction solutions. The 175-hectare area along the waterfront will be transformed into a high-performance residential zone with 1,200,000 m2 of new housing outfitted with smart home solutions, smart meters and renewable energy sources, such as e-mobility charging networks.
- Solar power production: The former energy production area of Suvilahti, home to the first Nordic vehicle-to-grid charging station, will also be home to the production of solar power and energy storage, in addition to serving as the largest cultural centre in Finland with everything from a brewery bar to a 100-metre-long graffiti wall.
- Retrofitting actions: In the Merihaka and Vilhonvuori residential retrofitting zone, 1970s apartments are getting modernized thanks to the help of Finnish energy solutions provider, Salusfin, who is retrofitting homes with solutions like smart metering and control that will connect to an urban platform through IoT.
By developing an integrated urban transformation strategy—which improves the quality of life and increases digitalization—capitals like Helsinki can develop and test framework and smart solutions that can later be applied and adapted to other cities.
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