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Test project shows how Tampere's buildings can lower their carbon footprint

The smart district heating project by Tampere Power Utility and a student housing foundation uses AI and apartment-specific sensors to reduce energy consumption and cost.

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The service is optmising the use of heating in Tampere's student accommodation
The service is optmising the use of heating in Tampere's student accommodation

A smart district heating project in Tampere, Finland, has achieved cost-savings of 10 per cent and is helping to reduce the carbon footprint of student accommodation in the city.


Tampere Power Utility is working with local company Enermix Oy to deliver the service and algorithms are also being developed for other types of buildings, including offices and schools.


Lowering emissions


The Tampere Student Housing Foundation (TOAS), which wants to lower its carbon emissions to zero, is testing the service in 11 of its buildings.


The service uses apartment-specific sensors that measure the temperature and humidity while artificial intelligence (AI) controls heating according to needs during different times of the day and year.


It balances peak district heating outputs and optimises the need for heating in buildings. For example, the AI prevents any unnecessary heating during summer and when the days get colder in autumn, heating does not need to be switched on at once as it is stored in building structures.


Consumption peaks can be avoided by temporarily decreasing heating during high consumption of district heating, such as in the morning when people often take a shower.

 

Tampere Power Utility and Enermix said the test project has taught them much about how building heating can be optimised and what kinds of unusual heating situations there can be during a single year. The project will extend to other buildings in the city, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church.


The service has also made it easier for TOAS to identify any faults in the heating service or any vacant apartments with windows left open when students move out.

 

“Building owners play a significant part in us, together, being able to become carbon neutral by 2030.”

 

“In addition to financial savings, temperatures have remained more even during the heating season,” says Kirsi Koski, managing director of TOAS.


The smart district heating service has been developed as part of Tampere’s Stardust project, which aims to develop low-emission and energy-efficient solutions for buildings and energy production, as well as in the areas of electric transport and lighting.


“Building owners play a significant part in us, together, being able to become carbon neutral by 2030,” Pauli Välimäki, City of Tampere development manager.


TOAS has also set significant goals for its new buildings and will construct a wooden apartment building in Rauhaniemi in the city’s Lapinniemi district.


Last year, Tampere Electric Company announced its plan to deliver carbon-negative district heating to its customers in the Hiedanranta city district of the city via its district heating network.

 

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