New sustainable energy solutions are being tested in Turku

New sustainable energy solutions are being tested in Turku

8 November 2023
aerial view on the Student village in Turku
9 November 2023

The city of Turku aims to be climate neutral in 2029 and climate positive from then onwards. As part of the transition towards a cleaner energy system, new solutions are being tested in Turku Student Village. The measures are implemented through RESPONSE project.

To reach its climate neutrality goal, the city of Turku has made a strong commitment to transition towards cleaner energy. In the past 10 years, the city has invested heavily into a renewable energy system, and already today more than 80 % of the energy produced by the city’s energy company, Turku Energia, is from renewable sources.

As part of the transition, Turku is taking part in RESPONSE project (Integrated Solutions for Positive Energy and Resilient Cities), funded by the European Union’s research and innovation funding programme Horizon 2020. The project is focused on building more sustainable and safer cities with particular attention directed towards energy. It brings together eight European cities, demonstrating technological innovations in Turku and Dijon (France) and exploring their replicability in the six fellow cities.

In the RESPONSE demonstration site in Turku Student Village, the city’s first positive energy block (PEB) is being built by project partners. A PEB is a built area which produces more renewable energy than it consumes over a year, thus decreasing the need to use fossil fuels. The PEB in Turku Student Village is brought about by greatly increasing local renewable energy production, capturing waste heat more efficiently, and reducing energy consumption.

The increase in renewable energy is achieved by installing both novel and conventional solar panels in selected buildings at the Student Village PEB site. Storages for electricity and heat reduce imbalances between demand and production, and near-by city district cooling flows are upcycled to recover waste heat. With the help of smart energy systems, the energy consumption of the buildings is then optimized.

The integrated technological solutions reduce the need to use fossil fuels for energy in the PEB. This need is further reduced by retrofitting measures implemented in the older buildings of the test site, vastly improving the energy efficiency of the buildings. Residents of the Student Village also play an active role in reducing energy consumption within the block. The message is spread by mentors, who themselves are residents of the Student Village. They share tips on how to save energy and encourage inhabitants to actively monitor and reduce their daily energy consumption.

As temperatures climb, the pressure to reduce carbon emissions and adopt new innovative solutions in cities continues to increase. RESPONSE is part of a broader group of projects funded by the European Union, aimed to demonstrate and develop PEDs in different surroundings. For the next two years, the solutions implemented in Turku will be monitored and assessed. An evaluation of the results will help show the practical feasibility of building PEDs in colder climates.

Just as in RESPONSE, the energy transition in the city of Turku is implemented together with municipal residents, businesses, and communities. The city has already managed to cut its emissions by 56 % compared to 1990 levels and is continuously searching for new ways to reduce its carbon footprint. Get acquainted with the city of Turku’s climate plan for 2029 to learn more about our path towards climate neutrality.


Written by: Helmi Andersson, City of Turku