ERA17 Press release 26/10/2010

Survey completed of the most effective emission-reduction measures in construction, the real estate sector and land use

A press release by the Ministry of the Environment; Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund; and Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation

The ERA17 task force, appointed by Jan Vapaavuori, Minister of Housing, identified 31 measures for making Finland a leading country in energy efficiency

Over the next decade, a roadmap for developing regulations on construction and buildings must be charted, and building renovation and repair must be steered by means of regulations. Instead of post-control, building inspection activities must be proactive and provide guidance. Buildings must be given an environmental classification, limits must be specified for the growth of urban regions, and a feed-in tariff must be determined for solar energy. The final report by the ERA17 task force says that the above measures, among others, are essential when aiming to reduce emissions caused by the built environment.

Minister Vapaavuori instructed the task force to identify the best means for improving the energy efficiency of the built environment. Leading experts in the business, research and public administration sectors sat on the task force, which was led by the Ministry of the Environment, Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund, and Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. The ERA17 objective is that Finland will achieve its emission-reduction goal for the built environment already in 2017, before its deadline. The outcome is 31 proposed actions concerning energy-efficient land use, decentralised energy production, construction guidance, building use and ownership, and competence development.

”The most energy-smart measures may be quite different in cities and the countryside. Decentralised energy production may have an important role in rural areas, whereas the role of infill development and integrating the urban structure is emphasised in urban areas. It is clear that renovation and repair work is a key factor in promoting an energy-smart approach: over half of the building stock of 2050 already exists today,” says Jan Vapaavuori, Minister of Housing.

Some of the actions proposed by the task force are short term, and some long term. According to initial impact estimates, the actions will lower the energy consumption of the built environment by about
20%–35% and result in greenhouse gas emissions decreasing by 10%–35% by 2050, as compared to the present levels. Most of the investments required by the actions are already now financially feasible. In addition to lowering the levels of energy consumption and emissions, the actions may significantly improve the quality of construction and housing.

”This is to say that an energy-smart approach is not a sacrifice, but something positive which benefits us all. It also poses a significant business opportunity. In fact, I hope that this is also more extensively understood by the real estate and construction sectors. Without these sectors fully committing to this, we will not be able to progress in this work,” says Vapaavuori.

The ERA17 report is the first comprehensive review of the emissions of the built environment in Finland. The built environment currently consumes 42% of all energy, causing 38% of the carbon dioxide emissions. This means that reducing the emissions level of the built environment plays a key role in mitigating climate change. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, emissions reductions may also be carried out cost-effectively in buildings and in the construction process.

Further information

Helena Säteri, Director General, Ministry of the Environment,
firstname.lastname[ at ]ymparisto.fi, Tel. 0400 867 759

Jukka Noponen, Director, Sitra,
firstname.lastname[ at ]sitra.fi, Tel. 040 587 4323

Reijo Kangas, Business Director, Tekes,
firstname.lastname[ at ]tekes.fi, Tel. 050 5577 892

Tuula Laitinen, Expert, Sitra,
firstname.lastname[ at ]sitra.fi, Tel. 050 3738 601

Riikka Lamminmäki, Press Officer, Ministry of the Environment,
firstname.lastname[ at ]ymparisto.fi, Tel. 050 5245 269

Eero Lukin, Online Editor-in-Chief, Tekes,
firstname.lastname[ at ]tekes.fi, Tel. 050 5577 715