Energy efficiency through solar power
At the end of the summer, the European Commission published a proposal on how much EU member states must cut their greenhouse gas emissions outside of carbon credit over the next decade. The proposed emissions target for Finland was a 39 per cent decrease by the year 2030. Achieving the goals set means making major changes to energy production and consumption, including in the property business.
When discussing climate-related matters in Finland, we often talk about making a joint effort and about how much everyone must contribute to the common cause. I agree with this, but I would prefer to save talk about a “joint effort” for things like the sauna evening at an apartment complex. When it comes to the property business, the goals can be achieved through profitable business operations, provided you know what you’re doing.
A solar power plant is a profitable investment
For some people, image and environmental friendliness are grounds enough for installing a solar electricity system on their property. With the decrease in the price of panels and the development of new, more efficient and smarter solutions, solar electricity has become a matter of interest from an economic standpoint, too. This can be seen in the fact that the solar electricity capacity of Finland doubled over the course of 2015 alone.
We at Are take environmental targets seriously without compromising energy efficiency. One of our main concepts is our solar electricity project, in which the energy efficiency of properties is optimised using solar electricity, based on an expert survey.
Solar electricity project takes into account the savings potential of properties
We have been working with energy efficiency projects for a long time now, offering our customers the best comprehensive solutions for both individual properties and larger groups of properties. The solar electricity project is a natural continuation of this, which seamlessly combines our experience with various projects, our strong technical expertise, and services extending throughout the life cycle of properties.
I believe that by implementing the survey, installation and maintenance stages as one package, we can create a comprehensive system that serves the property, its owners and its users at all stages of its life cycle. The whole system breaks down immediately if one of the above-mentioned components is missing.
It does not make sense to build a solar electricity system in an existing property based on the current level of energy consumption without also conducting a technical survey of the building, in which at least the zero-investments or free investments are investigated and sorted out. These include changes to the setting value and timing programmes, among others. In addition, the survey must investigate other energy efficiency investments that have a direct impact on the dimensioning of the solar electricity system.
In some of our projects, we have managed to decrease the property’s electricity consumption by up to half by first making the above-mentioned changes. In this case, the costs of investing in a solar electricity system also decrease by nearly the same amount compared to the original costs. The repayment period for a solar electricity project provided by Are can be as little as under five years, when the energy efficiency survey takes into account the overall technical savings potential of the property.
A solar electricity system for Are’s headquarters
Our headquarters in Kaivoksela in Vantaa is an energy-efficient smart building, in which the heating, lighting and ventilation are adjusted based on the usage rate and utilising free energy using the Are Sensus low-energy system. From the perspective of the solar electricity project, the majority of our property’s savings potential was already identified, and the property was set up to operate accordingly. The missing component, the solar power plant, will be installed and taken into use during this autumn. The shoemaker’s child has shoes, and the smallest possible carbon footprint.
The writer is CTO at Are. He gets energy by developing new things and eating well-seasoned food.