Helsinki commits to carbon-neutrality of buildings

Uutta Helsinkiä
Photo: Lauri Rotko
More than half of Helsinki’s carbon dioxide emissions originate from heating.

Helsinki has on 4 December joined the World Green Building Council network’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, where cities and companies pledge to take urgent action to ensure their own portfolios of buildings operate at net zero carbon in terms of carbon dioxide emissions from energy use by 2030.

Helsinki’s goal is to be entirely carbon-neutral by the year 2035. More than half of Helsinki’s carbon dioxide emissions originate from the heating of buildings. On the other hand ,about 45 per cent of Helsinki emissions reduction potential is connected to buildings. A net zero carbon building means a very energy efficient building, where all the energy needed has been produced from renewable sources.

“Climate change is the most crucial challenge of our time and Helsinki is at the forefront of the fight against it. The heating energy needed must be reduced systematically. That is why the buildings are at the core of the fight against climate change. Helsinki is committed to carrying out very ambitious measures on its portfolio of buildings to reduce the heating consumption and increase the use of renewable energy. Through our own actions, we lead others to take action as well”, says Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori.

Strict targets for the City’s own buildings

In the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2035 action plan, Helsinki has set clear energy efficiency targets for buildings that are directly controlled by the City. In case of new business premises, the  E-value that describes the energy efficiency of a building must be 20 per cent lower than required in national legislation. Accordingly, the E-value after a complete renovation of the premises should be no more than 80 per cent of the requirements in national legislation. 

All the new residential buildings built for the City will belong to the energy class A. In its own portfolio of buildings, the City invests heavily in locally produced renewable energy, such as geothermal energy and solar energy.

Energy Renaissance programme is being prepared 

The City of Helsinki is currently preparing an Energy Renaissance programme, the objective of which is to speed up the energy renovations made in privately-owned buildings. The objective is to reduce the use of heating energy by dozens of per cents in the entire building stock by the year 2035. The goal is to enhance, among other things, the consulting for carrying out energy renovations and increasing renewable energy, plan neighbourhoods more and more according to carbon neutrality, and guide customers in building control towards energy efficient solutions and renewable energy.

World Green Building Council is a network leading the transformation of the built environment, to make it healthier and more sustainable. The network consists of 70 national Green Building Councils, which are located around the world.


Carbon Neutral Helsinki 2035 Action Plan  PDF

Carbon-Neutral Helsinki 2035 – Summary (PDF)

World Green Building Council: Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment