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Projects and measures related to the IRIS project in Vaasa

The City of Vaasa will lead the part of the project, with a focus on replicating and disseminating solutions to the cities participating, as well as to other parts of Europe.

Energy efficient public buildings

The Housing sector of the City of Vaasa started to systematically monitor the energy consumption of its building stock as early as the 1990s. The gathered data and know-how is reflected in the energy efficiency of the buildings. For example, the city’s schools and day-care centres are among the most energy efficient in Finland.

On average, the schools in Vaasa are 17% more energy efficient than the Finnish average and the day-care centres up to 23% more energy efficient than the Finnish average.

One significant building is the Porvarinkatu school, built in the 1970s, and renovated recently with top energy efficiency in mind. The air-conditioning system was upgraded with a heat recovery system, and solar panels were installed on the roof, generating 14 MWh of electricity per year. Thanks to the new technology, the school can now recover 65% of heat from the outgoing air. The savings in energy costs are around EUR 17,000 a year.


Zero energy residential area


The residential area by the sea in Suvilahti is the first in the world to implement several energy technology innovations, which make it a zero- energy area. The Suvilahti residential area generates more energy than it consumes: electricity generation is 120% and heat generation 160% compared to the calculated needs of the area.

Energy is extracted from the ocean floor and from a nearby landfill to cover the needs of the 39 small houses and four apartment buildings. Heat is distributed over the entire residential area via a centralized low-temperature grid.

The area also utilizes biogas, or methane, produced at a nearby closed landfill. The energy is generated and distributed at the area’s very own New Energy power plant, where micro-turbines convert the biogas into electricity and heat.


Waste produces energy for the entire region

Kierrätyslogo maiseman päällä

In the Vaasa region, we also produce energy from waste. Westenergy’s modern waste incineration plant efficiently transforms the energy contained by unrecyclable waste to energy – safely and emission-free. The Westenergy plant can cover more than a third of the demand for district heat in Vaasa.

Together, the Westenergy waste incineration plant and the Vaskiluoto power plant’s conversion to biomass reduced the carbon dioxide emissions produced in Finland by 1%. This achievement was awarded as the Climate Act of the year in 2012.

The use of waste to generate district heat and electricity replaces fossil fuels, and reduces the carbon dioxide emissions in the Vaasa region by up to 20,000 tonnes a year. When the amount of waste disposed of at the landfill is reduced, so are the methane gas emissions, which are 20 times as harmful to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.

Thanks to the Vaasa Energy Turnabout project of Vaskiluodon Voima, Westenergy and Vaasan Sähkö, the carbon dioxide emissions in energy production will be reduced by 425,000 tonnes annually, which translates as nearly one percent of the CO2 emissions produced in Finland.


Energy efficient public transport


Vaasa’s target to reduce the use of fossil fuels and increase regional energy self-sufficiency also includes public transport. The City of Vaasa and Stormossen have signed a contract regarding the delivery of biogas for 12 new buses, which will run on the gas. Stormossen is the first biogas plant in Finland, independent of the natural gas network, which refines methane gas for car fuel from biowaste and water treatment sludge.

Stormossen began the gasification of household waste as early as the 1980s. Before then, there was only one similar plant in all of Europe.

The biogas plant creates jobs and income for local businesses, the money spent on fuel stays in the city and buses run with reduced emissions and lower noise levels than before.

The annual production of methane gas at the Stormossen biogas plant corresponds to 1,500,000 litres of diesel. The first methane gas station in Vaasa will bewas opened in the summer of 2016. To begin with, the fuel will covered the needs of the buses and approximately 1,000 private cars.


Vaasa Sustainable Mobility Programme

Pyöräily_Kasper Dalkarl

The project aims to develop a sustainable mobility programme for the City of Vaasa. The Sustainable Mobility Programme answers the question concerning how to move in Vaasa when the city is carbon neutral.

In addition to urban strategy, Vaasa has many different parallel programmes, as well as various plans and reports related to mobility and transportation. Understanding the overall picture is challenging in the current situation as the city lacks a strategic sustainable transport / mobility plan that guides planning, implementation and decision making.

The idea behind this work is cross-administrative work both within the city organization and with other stakeholders and decision makers. Collaboration and engagement make it possible to build and strengthen a common understanding and commitment to work-related goals and measures as the work progresses.

The end result will be a shared vision of the city to promote sustainable mobility and clear guidelines on how to move this shared vision forward through existing and potential new programmes in Vaasa.

Financing: Traficom, Urban Development and Municipal Technology
Implementation: 2019


A Future Energy Efficient and Innovative Residential Area - Project 2016-2018

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The main objective of the project is to promote the implementation of the energy and climate programme in the City of Vaasa through the improvement of energy efficiency, the use of renewable energy and energy services in residential areas. The project is implemented by the City of Vaasa, the University of Vaasa, Ab Yrkeshögskolan at Åbo Akademi University and funded by the Regional Council of Ostrobothnia and the City of Vaasa.

The project has created a model and a proposal for an energy solution for a new district in the former horserace track area of Vaasa. The model is based on the storage of waste heat in a rock storage facility and a regional low-temperature network. With the proposed energy solution, the area can become carbon neutral for the thermal energy used.

The aim is to find, develop and create new operating models and systems for the production and use of renewable energy with different actors. Through the project, the City of Vaasa has developed innovation-supporting activities in zoning, planning, land plots, contract preparation, municipal engineering, and developing participatory electronic interaction with different parties.

The results of energy efficiency monitoring can be utilized in education and future research projects. Further development of the residential area design model will continue after the project, for example, in cooperation with other Finnish research institutes. The computational model created for the area will be updated as the area is built, enabling the monitoring of energy efficiency and impacts.

Ravilaakso is a new district which will extend the Vaasa centre grid plan. This newly planned area is at the former horserace track area of ​​Vaasa. Around 135,000 m2 in total of fascinating and atmospheric residential environments will be built in Ravilaakso. There are 1600 to 1800 new homes planned for the area that will provide accommodation for between 2,000 to 2,500 residents. The area also offers a wide range of opportunities for various services and business premises. The construction of the first blocks of the site will begin in 2020. The goal is for the first inhabitants to move to the area between 2022 and 2023.


Energy Education

The Goal of the Energy Education Strategy: In Vaasa, the energy capital of the Nordic countries, the learners master the skills of  working life and energy competence.


  • Competent teachers
  • The learners get gain useful skills and abilities.
  • The energy competence grows in the schools.
  • Learners know the studying and career possibilities within the energy cluster.
  • Young people and adults are getting intoentering working life and they have good skills for it.


  • We support and motivate teachers.
  • We create models which promote learning the working skills of the future.
  • Energy is a natural part of the educational content on all educational levels.
  • The schools have active contacts with working life.
  • The energy cluster gathers good guys people at work.


How will we do it:

  • Creating a structured Network of energy teachers
  • Educating teachers
  • Offering learning environments (virtual and physical)
  • Identifying dynamic working life skills in future and binding  thesem into education.
  • Offering possibilities of to getting education over the language, school and educational stage
  • Energy is integrated into education
  • Visits to energy objects
  • Expert visits (virtual and live)
  • Energy as a subject within the contents of the exams and educations.
  • Teaching of studying counsellors
  • Excursion path
  • Expert bank
  • Business village
  • Introduction to working life
  • Precision days
  • Summer jobs
  • Working life origin within education
  • Teamwork between working life, students + teachers
  • STEM thematics
  • Optional subjects
  • Club activities
  • Educational path in Finnish / Swedish / English
  • Further training