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Lowering temperatures and dimming lights – Vaasa saves energy in many ways

Published: 13.10.2022

The City of Vaasa is saving energy and preparing for the upcoming winter season by, among other things, lowering building temperatures and dimming street lighting. The goal is a five per cent reduction in energy consumption in the coming months. Vaasa is also involved in the ‘Down a Degree’ energy-saving campaign, which will last for the whole winter season, whereby every Finn is encouraged to take quick and concrete energy-saving measures.

Vaasa has long invested in energy efficiency, and the goal is to be a carbon-neutral city by the end of the decade. The new measures now decided on aim to further reduce the city’s energy consumption.

– Saving measures have been carefully prepared by investigating the city’s energy consumption in its entirety. We use the most energy for heating buildings, electricity and outdoor lighting. The goal was to find savings targets and measures that would have the greatest possible preventive effect in terms of possible energy and electricity shortages, says the Director of the Urban Environment Sector, Markku Järvelä.

The aim of the measures is not only to save energy and prepare for short-term power outages, but also to curb the increase in the city’s own costs.

– The measures are planned carefully, taking into account different perspectives. While safety and ensuring the supply of electricity are the top priorities, the measures also aim to achieve significant savings, explains Järvelä.

Temperatures lowered by 1.5 degrees on average

The City of Vaasa owns about 180 buildings, of which the ten largest consume about half of the energy used by all the city’s buildings. Energy is saved not only by optimising different systems, but also by influencing usage habits.

– In properties belonging to the City of Vaasa, temperatures are lowered by an average of 1.5 degrees where possible from an operational point of view. For example, there will be no changes to the operating conditions of daycare centres, service housing units and wards in the Tammikaivontie hospital area. In such places activities will continue as normal, says Property Manager Hanna Pekkala.

Most of the city’s properties are heated with district heating. A decrease in temperature of one degree saves approximately five per cent of thermal energy, which means savings of approximately 136,000 euros per year according to the current price of district heating. In addition to lowering the temperature, many different measures are being used to reduce the energy consumption of buildings.

– We adjust and check, for example, ventilation operating times, hot domestic water temperature limits and engine block heating poles for cars, as well as shorten the indoor and outdoor lighting times of properties. In addition, for example, in the swimming hall, half of the saunas are left unheated during the day and the time the saunas are on has been reduced, explains Pekkala.

Savings measures are implemented on a property-by-property basis so that they do not endanger the indoor air conditions or the safety of users. With regard to ventilation operating hours, the recommendations of the indoor air association, Sisäilmayhdistys ry, are still followed, and safety aspects are taken into consideration when reducing lighting.

Lighting is renewed and lights are dimmed

Adjusting lighting and renewing lights are also two of the most important saving measures in municipal technology. A total of 793 energy-hungry lights on the nine fitness trails in Vaasa will be replaced with energy-efficient LED lighting that also has motion and snow detection. In addition, lamp-specific controllers will be installed in 860 lamps elsewhere in Vaasa.

– After the turn of the year, we will start changing, for example, the high-power wire lights in the city centre to smart LED lighting. With lamp-specific control, the lighting level can be dimmed without jeopardising safety. Energy savings per lamp can be up to 80% when the reflection effect of snow increases the effectiveness of the lighting, explains the Director of Public Utility Services, Jukka Talvi.

Christmas lights using energy-efficient LED lighting will be kept on as in previous years.

– We think it is important to preserve the joy and cheer brought by Christmas lights in an otherwise dark season of the year, says Talvi.

For several years now, the Public Utility Services department has invested in low-energy solutions, for example in the lighting of streets and sports venues as well as in traffic light control. For this winter, the goal is a 10 per cent reduction in the electricity consumed through public utility services.

‘Down a Degree’ energy-saving campaign starts – come and join in

The nationwide ‘Down a Degree’ energy-saving campaign, which started on 10 October, encourages every Finn to participate in energy-saving measures. The goal of the campaign is to get at least 75% of Finns to save energy and to permanently lower energy consumption in the long term. The goal is shared by everyone at home, on the move, at workplaces and in educational institutions.

The City of Vaasa is involved in the ‘Down a Degree’ campaign not only in terms of its own measures, but also by encouraging the city’s personnel and all residents to participate as well.

– Each of us can still make a difference to overall energy consumption both at home and at work. Saving energy in the current world situation is everyone’s common cause and every small action matters, reminds Markku Järvelä.

It’s easy to start with these small everyday actions:

  • Lower room temperatures by a degree
  • Lighten the throttle when driving
  • Take shorter showers
  • Use less entertainment electronics

Check out the energy saving tips on the ‘Down a degree’ campaign website.

We also accept ideas and tips from city residents on where the city could save energy. You can leave an idea through the feedback service of the City of Vaasa. Website is only in Finnish and Swedish, but can leave your feedback in English.

We will inform you separately about preparing for possible power outages later.