Matter of fact: How Heka reduces emissions from housing

The City of Helsinki is committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions considerably. Here is how Heka contributes to this common goal.

Written by Anne Ventelä Photos by Antti Pulkkinen

Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035

  • The City of Helsinki’s objective is to be carbon-neutral by 2035.
  • Activity taking place in a carbon-neutral city does not warm the climate.
  • The objective is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent from 1990.
  • The remaining 20 per cent of emissions will be compensated by adding carbon sinks, for example.
  • The climate programme comprises concrete measures that will also be carried out by Heka.


What factors generate emissions?

A picture of a factory.
  • Heating of apartments 35%
  • Consumer electricity related to housing 4%
  • Heating, other 22%
  • Consumer electricity, other 10%
  • Traffic 25%
  • Industry and machinery 1%
  • Waste treatment 3%.

Source: Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority 2020

How emissions are reduced

A picture of an arrow.
  • 147 different measures taken by the City of Helsinki to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 14 measures of the City of Helsinki that Heka participates in.
  • 60% of Heka locations already have one or more tenants who use the Ekoekspertti application.
  • Three geothermal projects starting at new Heka locations and renovation sites.
  • Five solar power plants are purchased for existing Heka locations every year. Additionally, almost all renovated and new locations will be fitted with a solar power plant.
  • More than 100 electric car charging points at Heka locations.

What Heka does?

Recovery of waste heat

Recovery of waste and recycled heat is one of the most significant ways of improving the energy efficiency of buildings. An AI energy audit will be carried out on roughly 1,600 buildings owned by Heka to identify the best means in terms of lifecycle costs for increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Piloting of geothermal or sea-source heating

The possibility of implementing geothermal heating will be surveyed in every new construction and renovation project of Heka. New geothermal projects being launched include a new location on Kaljaasi Fortunan katu in Sompasaari and the renovation sites Gunillantie 6 and Jollaksentie 87. The possibility of using sea-source heating will be examined in projects taking place in suitable locations.

A picture of a factory and a calculator


Energy efficiency in renovations

The energy efficiency of Heka buildings will be improved in conjunction with renovations by improving the thermal insulation of the structures and adding an exhaust air heat pump or mechanical supply and exhaust ventilation system with heat recovery, for example. Windows and doors will also be replaced, LED lights will be changed and motion sensor lights will be added. The target pursued with regard to the energy efficiency of apartment buildings is an improvement of at least 32% compared to the year of construction. For terraced houses, this target is 36%.

Promotion of urban farming

Urban farming increases the well-being of tenants and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from the transport and packaging of food on a small scale. Heka’s tenants may order cultivation boxes using the building committee’s appropriations. Some of the new locations, such as Kuninkaantammi, already have cultivation boxes.

Concept solutions for renovations

Heka has received ELENA funding from the European Commission for optimising the energy efficiency of residential buildings. An individual calculation will be prepared for almost 170 buildings to identify the best solutions in terms of lifecycle costs for promoting energy efficiency and the utilisation of both renewable energy and waste heat. The aim is to develop standardised solutions for the renovation of buildings of the same type or age.

Long-term renovation plans

Heka uses a ten-year, i.e. long-term, maintenance plan that is updated annually. Based on this plan, precise energy conservation measures will be planned for the locations, and their effect will be assessed in the long term.

Other measures in which Heka participates

  • Lifecycle emissions from construction projects will be minimised.
  • The proportion of recycled materials used in construction will be increased.
  • Property automation systems will be upgraded to optimise energy consumption.
  • It will be determined whether the use of renewable energy is possible in renovated and new buildings.
  • Wood construction will be increased.
  • The City will survey the financial obstacles to the implementation of energy efficiency.
  • Innovative and sustainable procurements will be promoted.

Kuvituskuva, jossa puuta, metsää ja saha.


Heka also nurtures the environment in these ways:

  • The degree of waste sorting will be improved by providing information to the tenants and developing waste management.
  • The use of hazardous chemicals in property cleaning and maintenance will be reduced.
  • The waste and emissions generated will be taken into account in yard design and maintenance, and biodiversity will be nurtured.
  • Environmental impacts and lifecycle costs will be emphasised in procurement decisions.

Expert consulted: Environmental Manager Marika Nyyssönen, Helsinki City Housing Company