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Data helps the City of Vaasa go carbon neutral

Published: 26.5.2020

A collaboration project between the City of Vaasa, Vaasan Sähkö, Wärtsilä and TietoEVRY is aiming to build one of the world’s first solutions to help a city go carbon neutral. In the experiment, the team is researching measures that could slow down climate change, with the City of Vaasa a pilot environment.

Cities all over the world are facing the same problem: CO2 emissions need to be cut down and there’s no time to waste. Plenty of data is needed for efficient decision-making, such as the scale of emissions from hospitals, schools, transportation and heating, as well as the factors that affect them; but the information is often scattered across different organisations. It’s difficult to estimate the emissions of particular actions beforehand – and so is keeping track of the effectiveness of the changes.

A new tool to help demonstrate the impact of climate change

To solve the problem, the City of Vaasa has embarked on a ground-breaking experiment. It brings together all the data from its three biggest carbon emission sources – transportation, heating and electricity consumption – enabling the parties involved to scrutinise the impact of different actions on emission levels.

With the help of the new tool, it’s possible to demonstrate where and how the city’s emissions are generated, which allows the efficiency of different measures to be simulated and verified. What would happen to emissions if the temperature in schools was dropped by one degree, or a car-free day was organised? In the first phase, the experiment includes approximately 30% of the city’s carbon emission sources.

“In the project, we’ll produce a tool for the City of Vaasa to bring about an in-depth understanding of the phenomena behind emissions, as well as a way to target well-planned measures efficiently and track their effectiveness,” explains Fredrik Jansson, Principal Consultant, Data and Ecosystems, TietoEVRY. “In the big picture, we’re studying phenomena and testing practical solutions to slow down climate change in a city environment. Soon, we will have results that form a basis for other cities to tackle the same challenges.”

“It’s only natural that an experiment like this takes place in Vaasa, considering the cluster of energy technology and strong expertise in the region. We’re proud to be part of a collaboration that is taking concrete steps to slow down climate change. This experiment also strengthens our aim to make the city carbon neutral by 2030,” says the mayor of the City of Vaasa, Tomas Häyry.

Open access to data is key to success

Collaboration between all parties is a quintessential part of the project. The companies and the city are committed to sharing information and offering access to data that has traditionally been held internally. On top of the interface itself, building a collaborative model for the parties involved plays a crucial role.

“This co-operation is a great example of how we can combine our expertise in the energy industry in Vaasa and build solutions that are innovative and useful on a global scale. For us, this is yet another way to test new models and cut down carbon emissions,” notes Stefan Damlin, CEO of Vaasan Sähkö.

The project originally stems from the open collaboration between the Committed network and local actors in Vaasa.

“Wärtsilä and TietoEVRY are founding members of Committed and it’s great to see a concrete tool grow from an idea to execution so quickly after the network was founded,” says Matti Rautkivi, Director, Wärtsilä. “This is also an excellent example of the operating model we’re forming at the Smart Technology Hub being built in Vaskiluoto, Vaasa. In the future, co-operation will happen within ecosystems.”