Helsinki lights the path of intelligent energy solutions

Cities contribute up to 70 per cent of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Energy renovations, urban mobility and ICT solutions are linked together in smart city developments to provide better living environments and reduce emissions. City of Helsinki takes major steps together with the residents and local business towards the target to be carbon neutral.

Smart City Lighthouse project mySMARTLife is part of the EU Horizon 2020 program, which tests new solutions to mitigate climate change in cities. Project experiments achieve energy savings of 10 to 20 percent and accelerate access to the best solutions. Solutions tested in Helsinki can be utilized in other cities in Finland and around the world.

An autonomous bus in action (Photo: Jussi Salonen / Metropolia)

Autonomous electric bus service

Metropolia University of Applied Sciences is testing the use of an intelligent minibus with sensors to navigate in its surroundings and pay attention to other road users. New technologies are studied to reduce the emissions and costs of public transport and to get passenger feedback of autonomous means of transport.

“A similar experiment in the SOHJOA project last year in Helsinki, Espoo and Tampere was a success. The purpose of automobile buses is to provide a safe ride for all”, says Project Manager Harri Santamala at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences.

Intelligent heat control for savings

Intelligent heat control and guidance to reduce consumption in Merihaka and Kalasatama residential areas is tailored to meet individual user needs. Demand response of heat and electricity enables optimisation of energy grid capacity use to serve both the service provider and the customer. The Viikki Environment Institute office building will be made more energy efficient by installing remote control for the heating system with room-specific sensoring and control.

More solar and smart use of renewable energy

Ways to increase the production of renewable energy and to reduce annual consumption as well as utilise smart energy storages in the most efficient way are explored further in the project. Development work is done to improve the entire grid as well as through local pilots. As an example, Helsinki Zoo and recreational area of Korkeasaari aims to be carbon neutral by 2025. Switching to renewable energy, reducing consumption and promoting low-emission mobility with smart charging will be show-cased.

Suvilahden aurinkovoimala Helen Oy

Suvilahti solar power plant (Photo: Helen Ltd.)

mySMARTLife is implemented by the City of Helsinki, Helen LTD, Forum Virium Helsinki LTD, Metropolia Polytechnic LTD, VTT Technical Research Centre LTD and SMEs Fourdeg LTD and Salusfin LTD. The European Commission has granted funding of € 18 million for a joint project in 2017-2022. The budget for the Helsinki measures is € 5.6 million. The project also includes the cities of Hamburg and Nantes.

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No 731297.

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