The Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) and the
Finnish Residential Information Centre (Suomen Asuntotietokeskus) have been
presented with an innovation award for their implementation of research and
development activities with an impact on the residential market. The award was
granted to VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland for their praiseworthy
development of practical, research-based solutions for improving energy
efficiency in buildings.
At VTT, research into the energy efficiency of built-up environment is being
carried out by about 20 full-time and several dozen part-time experts. The
long-term research and development of building energy technology began already
at the end of 1980, funded by the then Ministry of Commerce and Industry. The
research is focused on energy efficiency solutions for single-family houses
and apartment buildings as well as urban areas. VTT has carried out
development in collaboration with several Finnish companies.
There are a great many examples of practical solutions, such as low-energy,
passive, and zero-energy houses, all around Finland. Comprehensive solutions,
simulation, follow-up measurements, life cycle surveys of solutions, and
different tools for decision-making are among the items VTT has offered in
“As early as 1993, a single-family house was built in Pietarsaari using solar
energy and supplying it to the electricity grid, and this is still the most
energy-efficient building in use in Finland today,” says Matti Kokkala, Vice
President, Strategic Research at VTT, pointing out one pioneering application.
VTT research is into the basis for the construction of passive apartment
Construction company Reponen Oy has been involved extensively in the
development and construction of energy-efficient apartment buildings in an
exemplary manner. With expertise provided by VTT, the company has developed a
concept for low-energy construction of apartment buildings.
In passive apartment buildings built by the Reponen company, the consumption
of district heating and heating energy is 70 per cent less than normal. This
has been achieved, for example, by developments in the construction progress,
energy-efficient façades, new window technology, and apartment-specific
“These days, construction of a passive apartment building does not actually
cost any more than that of an ordinary building. Improving energy-efficiency
does not therefore increase costs,” emphasises Mika Airaksela from the
construction company Reponen.
Airaksela stresses that Reponen has benefited directly from VTT’s decades of
research into energy-efficient construction.
“We have gained a lot of finished information from VTT that we have applied to
living in apartment buildings. At the moment, we have a project underway where
we are developing solar heating so that it becomes suitable for low-energy
The residential market innovation award was handed over, for the first time,
at the Residential Market 2011 event in Helsinki. It was accepted by Research
Professor Miimu Airaksinen, Account Manager Jyri Nieminen and Technology
Manager Markku J. Virtanen.