Sign In

Tekes bulletin: VTT Receives a Residential Market Innovation Award


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 construction projects.

“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 buildings

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 ventilation heating.

“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 apartment buildings.”

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.