Partners from ERNACT (Ireland) and Savinjska Region (Slovenia) got also the opportunity to visit another two energy practices in the region of North Karelia (Finland) during the staff exchange that took place the 23rd and 24th of January 2018.

Sirkkala Renewable Energy Park

Sirkkala Energy Park is a learning and service environment of Karelia University of Applied Sciences where renewable and self-sufficient heat and electricity technologies, applications and solutions are studied and tested. The park is also located in Joensuu city.  

Development Expert Ville Kuittinen explained that the environment is ideally suited for rapid practical testing of innovations and renewable energy business development. The energy park focuses on testing and developing property sized hybrid energy systems, delivering valuable information on the functionality and efficiency of the equipment.   

They are currently testing different biomass boilers of different technologies from different countries. They made for testing also an own boiler (technology made in Finland), which is appropriate for all kinds of wooden sources (chips, pellets…). According to Kuittinen, the wooden chips are the most effective ones.   

Sirkkala has the newest biomass boiler made in Austria, one of newest technologies to test capacities and using wooden chips. They have also put 5 different kind of photovoltaic panels outside the building, which are in testing process and they are using a generator, renewable energy producer, which also works with wooden chips. 

Thermal heating renovation project of Sokos Hotel Koli

The Sokos Hotel Koli it’s located in the heart of the ‘Koli National Park’, in the region of North Karelia. Real Estate Manager PKO Ari Korhonen explained that they need 200.000 l per year for heating using oil. Therefore, they needed to think about other sources that would help to earn on energy. They were looking for “an energy efficient building” and they decided to implement a pilot project in the hotel based on thermal heating.

In that way, in March 2012, they developed some environmental and risks analysis. Korhonen mentioned that because of the location of the hotel, inside a national park, the transportation of oil can be “quite risky in winter”. Therefore, they started looking for an effective heat transfer. 

The Real Estate Manager explained that they only use oil during winter time, whenever the weather is the coolest. However, he mentioned that they have reduced the energy consumption by 80% and they have also implemented a cooling system during summer. 

This new thermal heating renovation project will take place in two different periods. The first one will start in April until July 2018 and the second one, from September to November 2018. Being inside a national park, they are paying special attention to leave the landscape “as it was”. They want the impact to be as small as possible. Regarding the main challenges, they have considered the environmental effects and the possible risks. Therefore, during all this time they have been working with biologists and forestry experts. 

Continue reading about more Finnish good energy practices brought to light during the staff exchange.