Finnish expertise helps to develop smarter energy communities in the Northern Periphery

SECURE kick-off meeting was hosted by Karelia UAS in 2016.

SECURE kick-off meeting hosted by Karelia UAS in 2016.

Energy efficient building in Joensuu.

SECURE partners and stakeholders reviewing project progress.

Karelia University of Applied Sciences in North Karelia (Finland) is one of the SECURE project partners with most expertise in energy efficiency measures and solutions. Therefore, since May 2016 and following the SECURE workplan, they have guided partners in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Faroe Islands and Sweden in their process of achieving smarter energy communities in their regions.

According to our project partner from Karelia UAS Helena Puhakka-Tarvainen, “the fact of sharing knowledge -among the groups and people related to the energy efficiency for public buildings- is one of the most important parts on the process of improving”. In that way, they have shared with the SECURE partnership some of their successful initiatives and measures. For example, to help partners from the mentioned 5 regions to develop a fruitful ‘Smarter energy communities programme’, Karelia UAS shared the results of their ‘Roadmap for Oil-free North Karelia 2040’ report, SciFest workshop experiences (in which more than 800 students participated increasing their energy awareness) or Energy Saving Week campaign and webinars (that reached more than 1,200 pupils and 4,500 Karelia students and staff members).

Finnish partners led one of the main work packages of the SECURE project: ‘Develop Transnational Low-Carbon Services Directory’. In that way, Karelia UAS has carried out a transnational knowledge transfer programme to define which good practices wish SECURE partners replicate into their regions as services. “The development of this directory has enabled regions to implement innovative services that have already been tried and tested in other locations. It has also enabled regions to avoid mistakes made by other regions”, explains Kaija Saramäki. According to our partners, the services have had a huge impact on local communities in terms of increased energy efficiency and renewables adoption. “It has been extremely important to engage with all stakeholders and local citizens so partners could plan for change”, adds Saramäki.


Good energy practices 

Finnish partners have disseminated some of their local good energy practices. Among them, partners got the opportunity to learn more about:

  • Energy efficient wooden apartment building
  • HINKU Forum

Find out more about these energy practices.


Next steps

Project manager Helena Puhakka-Tarvainen explains that the work related to energy efficiency and promotion of renewable energy will continue strong in the North Karelia even though SECURE project finishes. Karelia UAS has a focus area of sustainable energy solutions and materials, which has over 20 experts working towards the common goal through research and development. In addition, the associated project partner, the Regional Council of North Karelia, bears the overall responsibility on the strategic development of low-carbon North Karelia region.