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Improving energy efficiency and reducing the carbon footprint

Construction and completed buildings are responsible for more than 40 per cent of Finland’s total energy consumption. Sponda recognises this and pays particular attention to the energy efficiency of its properties and the carbon footprint caused by energy consumption.

The key aspects of the priority are:

  • The consumption of heat, electricity and water in buildings
  • Property development
  • Increasing environmental awareness among clients and employees

Why is this a priority?

The European Union has made a commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020. The EU has a further target of reducing emissions by 80–95 per cent by 2050. In 2021, all new buildings must meet near zero energy standards.

Improving the energy efficiency of buildings and reducing emissions therefore plays a key role in achieving these aims. Sponda strives to reach the EU targets through its own operations and through co-operation with clients. Energy efficiency is an important consideration in all of the company’s property development projects as well as renovation and maintenance operations.

Every day approximately 30,000 people work in premises owned by Sponda. As tenant activity causes up to 60 per cent of the total energy consumption of a building, co-operation between the landlord and tenant is of crucial importance in reducing energy consumption. Sponda encourages its clients to be energy efficient and to take environmental aspects into consideration in the use of properties. The company also provides guidance to its clients on energy efficiency and environmentally friendly building use.

For Sponda’s properties located in Finland, environmental monitoring includes the collection of information on energy and water consumption, as well as waste management volumes1). For office properties in Russia, the consumption of electricity and water are monitored. There is a certain degree of annual variability in Sponda’s property holdings due to sales and purchases, which affects the comparability of the annual environment figures.

Environmentally responsible property development

At Sponda, new construction, property renovation and the design of low-energy office buildings are all subject to the company’s design guidelines, which in many ways are more extensive than generally applied standards and regulations. The design guidelines are reviewed and updated annually. They help the company develop adaptable and energy efficient properties that offer functional working environments.

Sponda pays particular attention to environmental requirements in its property development operations. Sponda applies for international environmental classification, an environmental certificate, for all new buildings and major renovation projects.

Sponda’s Energy Efficiency Programme is aimed at conserving energy

The energy efficient use of properties is supported particularly through Sponda’s Energy Efficiency Programme, which is aimed at achieving energy savings in co-operation with clients. The properties included in the programme carry out an energy review to determine the energy consumption of each property and to examine the technical systems relating to energy consumption. Based on these reviews, adjustments and repairs are made at the properties in line with their use requirements.

Energy-saving goals and measures for achieving them are set individually for each property in cooperation with the users. Developments are then monitored in regular meetings with clients. Sponda’s partners Ovenia Oy and Corbel Oy are responsible for property maintenance operations and for collecting and monitoring energy consumption data.

The cost savings achieved through the Energy Efficiency Programme are reinvested in the property. The programme initially aims at energy savings of 10 per cent by 2016. The long-term goal is to achieve a 20 per cent saving in energy consumption by 2020. Sponda’s progress with respect to the programme and its targets has thus far been on schedule.

Environmental information for employees

The environmental expertise of employees is improved with the help of WWF’s Green Office programme. Environmental awareness is increased through an annual Green Day event, internal training events as well as Green Office tips published regularly on the company intranet and Sponda’s Facebook page.

Sponda’s employees are encouraged to make ecological choices through a company car policy that supports low-emission options. Employees are also provided with company bicycles. As part of Sponda’s Green Office environmental programme, employees are also trained in economical driving.

1) Energy consumption monitoring extends to all properties for which Sponda is responsible for energy purchasing. This applies to 85 per cent of all properties. Cooling is monitored separately for those properties that use district cooling. If cooling is performed locally by compressors, it is included in electricity consumption.