After the first stakeholder meeting in November 2019, the stakeholder group invitation list has been broadened to include a wider range of participants, representing public and private organizations active in South Karelia. On 31st March, Regional Council of South Karelia and LUT University held their second stakeholder meeting, that has been the last meeting in presence in Finland before the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions in the country; indeed, after project team internal discussions, the scheduled meeting was held online.
Partners wanted to brief the participants on the project status, on progress on the regional transition plan to low-carbon economy, on the SRI method with local examples. At the beginning, the goals of the project and the project respective current undertakings in the region (e.g. status of HINU tiekartta, the roadmap for regional low carbon transition) were presented by the Finnish S3UNICA partners. Then, LUT University presented its role in the project, the SRI approach, chosen as the method for technical evaluation, and its case study, namely SRI evaluation of Pontus elementary school in Lappeenranta. In regard to this, partners and stakeholders agreed both with the weight of “smartness”, that is only a part of the full picture of real estate and low-carbon, as demonstrated by SRI results, and with the need to identify precisely the value added available from policy incentives from this particular perspective.
Since the current aim of the S3UNICA project is to gain evaluation results for relevant public buildings, attendants to stakeholder meeting discussed about the application areas, relevance of methods and new potential targets for evaluation: the results of the latter will provide information on where the development action plans should be targeted.
Construction and buildings is one of the key areas for GHG reductions within the upcoming decade. The ambitious target of the region is to achieve a non-ETS emission reduction by 80% from 2007 until 2030: in order to monitor the improvement a regional software tool will be launched soon (benchmark of Helsinki Climate Program https://ilmastovahti.hel.fi/). Attendants discussed about the upcoming year, during that South Karelian municipalities will play an important role in the drafting of a detailed action plan and other relevant regional projects will be discovered, analyzed and illustrated in order to synchronize the efforts on the part of smart real estate management. Additionally, it was discussed that major new public real estate projects will also be undertaken from the low-carbon perspectives. Lappeenranta multipurpose arena will be considered from this perspective.
Then, the discussion focused on private sector participants and their involvement in a meaningful way, in order to optimize improvement investments. The project team will consider the best way to do this with Greenreality Network, that is having a fundamental role in S3UNICA project: actually, on March 13th the project was presented and discussed with Greenreality Network board members in a learning session, aimed to bring all the network together (public and private organisations that represent large and SME business, cities and municipalities, education and research) to solve problems, create joint development project and news business in order to advance sustainability goals within the region.
Last but not least, during the meeting there was discussion about other methods for low-carbon evaluations (Levels), and also on previous experience of SRI application in Finland: it allows the evaluation of SRI suitably and universality potential as a part of the project as well.
Second Finnish Regional Stakeholder meeting ended with the illustration of next steps, namely:
- meeting between LUT and Sampo Vocational College in order to evaluate SRI applicability to their real estate;
- a continuation of the mapping the current status relevant to development activities and policy preparation by the Regional Council;
- a face-to-face meeting of the regional stakeholders situation permitting (potentially in June/mid-August)