Houses tell their own energy stories at the Tuusula Housing Fair

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Energy is one of the four themes of the 2020 Housing Fair in Tuusula. The municipality of Tuusula and energy companies are heavily involved in turning the fair site into a virtually zero-energy area.

A residential area named Rykmentinpuisto is under construction near the centre of Tuusula. Construction began with the Housing Fair area, and the district will eventually accommodate 15,000 residents. The energy vision for the area is based on locally-generated renewable energy.

The doors to the exhibition houses traditionally show a summary of the building’s technical details, such as its energy performance class. In Tuusula, the information will also include the building’s carbon footprint and carbon handprint, the latter being an account of the building’s positive environmental effects. Every house will also tell its own energy store, including details such as which energy-efficiency solutions are a tangible part of the residents’ everyday lives.

“A survey was used to ask the housebuilders about their choices, and their responses were used to create an energy story for each house,” says Katerina Zaitseva, Project Manager at the municipality of Tuusula.

Many of the housebuilders had opted for renewable forms of energy. Geothermal heat was the most popular of these. There are also a lot of heat pumps and solar panels. The intention is to create a consolidated energy performance certificate for the entire area using the energy performance certificates for the individual buildings.

“We prepared guidelines for housebuilders concerning energy solutions, which are intended as encouragement or recommendations rather than orders or regulations,” explains Zaitseva.

Bidirectional district heating network using local energy

Fortum is offering an open bidirectional district heating network for the Rykmentinpuisto area, en-
abling customers to act as heat producers. Fortum will offer residents solutions such as solar power packages, smart heating control and charging solutions for electric vehicles.

Buildings may sometimes produce more energy than they consume if, for example, they have solar thermal collectors or heat pumps. On the open bidirectional network, residents can sell the surplus heat they generate back to Fortum at market prices. The range of services also includes a cooling system that can direct the condensate heat back into the open network for reuse.

Fortum is also investing in local energy generation. One innovation is Horse Power, which gathers power from the nearby horse stables. The owner of the stables receives a service whereby a wood-based bedding material is delivered to the stables and the manure pit is emptied. The fuel is then used at Fortum’s power plant to generate renewable, environmentally friendly local energy.

Active day-to-day life in a smart home

The other themes at the Tuusula Housing Fair are smart homes, active everyday life and art.

“During the land application phase, the housebuilders told us how they would incorporate the themes in their projects,” says Riikka Uusikulku, Project Manager for the Tuusula Housing Fair.

The overarching principle of the Housing Fair is to showcase new housing solutions.

“Smart home solutions are highly advanced in one house, which is being built for a person who was injured in an accident. One trial project will involve offering an electric car for the shared use of residents in a block of flats for the first year.”

Read Findgrid’s information for consumers: www.fingrid.fi/en/services/information-for-consumers/

Plenty of heating options

When people build new houses, they can choose from several alternative heating systems. Before selecting one, it is a good idea to think about the appropriate floor area and whether the thermal energy required by the building can be reduced using better insulation and more energy-efficient heat recovery.

When selecting a heating system, it is a good idea to think about environmental friendliness, ease of use and energy costs in the present and the future, as well as the purchasing and operating costs.

The following are suitable for use as primary heating forms:

District heating

  • Easy, maintenance-free alternative
  • Environmental impacts depend on the fuel distribution that is used.
  • The main fuels are climate-neutral energy sources, as well as natural gas, coal and peat.

 Ground-source heat pump

  • Very little maintenance and inspection work.
  • Low operating costs.
  • Large initial investment.

Woodchip, firewood and log boilers

  • An environmentally friendly alternative; does not cause carbon dioxide or sulphur emissions.
  • The nominal efficiency of a good boiler is over 80 per cent.
  • More labour-intensive than other heating methods.
  • Need to consider where to get and store the fuel.

Pellet heating

  • Wooden pellets are a Finnish fuel with a low environmental load.
  • Requires space for storage and for the boiler.

Direct electric heating

  • Does not require expensive investments, no major maintenance required
  • High operating costs
  • Some of the electricity is generated using fossil fuels, but green energy is also available on the market.
  • Gives rise to consumption peaks, which cause loads on the electricity network, particularly when the outdoor temperature is very low.
  • Savings can be realised by increasing automation and using supplementary heating forms.

Air/water heat pump

  • Takes thermal energy from outdoor air and transfers it to a water-circulating heating system.
  • The power drops when outdoor temperatures are low; a backup system is required during cold periods.

Water-circulation central heating with electric heating

  • Electric boilers and electric accumulators are easy-to-use heating systems.
  • The downside is that the energy they use is more expensive than other heating methods, as well as consumption peaks.
  • The main heating method is quite easy to change to a solution such as ground-source or air/water heat pumps.

Oil heating

  • As the main heating method, it gives rise to substantial carbon dioxide emissions and is expensive to operate.
  • Heat is taken into the rooms using a water-circulating heat distribution system.
  • The efficiency of modern oil heating boilers is very good, and the combustion is clean.
  • Can be combined with an air/water heat pump and solar power to create a hybrid heating system.
  • By using a dual-fuel boiler, wood can be used alongside oil.

Natural gas

  • The annual efficiency is more than 90 per cent.
  • Causes approximately 25% lower carbon dioxide emissions than oil heating.
  • Regional availability is limited.

Supplementary heating systems act as reserve heat sources and reduce the need to buy energy in.

  • Exhaust air heat pump
  • Air heat pump
  • Solar heating system
  • Fireplace with heat storage

Source: Motiva

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