In Lappeenranta, the collaboration forum for housing associations promotes know-how and energy efficiency through deep cooperation
01 November 2023
– In the establishment phase, financial support was received from the Finnish Energy Authority, and a lot of useful material was provided by the Sustainable Development Company “Motiva”, says Pylkkö.
According to Nyholm and Pylkkö, the basic idea of the collaboration forum is very simple.
– The aim is to bring together decision makers, such as board chairmen and board members in the city, region, district, or neighborhood. The main purpose is to establish and enable framework for a collaboration forum, which becomes a regular meeting place where all types of housing associations can promote their energy efficiency, they tell.
All members participate in the forum activities voluntarily and the forum has no official or legal status. The collaboration forum is a rewarding meeting place especially when the members have similar renovation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy needs and targets. The forum offers a place for exchanging information and interesting discussions, where good practices, experiences and know-how are shared for all members.
– The forum provides fruitful and excellent basis for the continuous energy efficient development of the participants’ own buildings. The continuously increased know-how and understanding of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and the implementation of renovations will be ensured by inviting experts, authorities, and companies to provide information about the best existing practices and solutions. The collaboration forum is a comprehensive channel where representatives of housing associations meet each other by discussing various topics related to energy efficiency, tells Nyholm.
– This enhances the know-how of the participants, and they also get tips for developing their housing association, Pylkkö describes.
Knowledge from experts enhances decision-making
Having worked in the energy sector for almost 50 years, Jorma Grönlund became the leader of the forum in September 2021. As the chairman of his housing association, he became interested in the collaboration forum immediately after seeing the first advertisement about it.
– I had noticed that housing associations usually faced similar challenges, which each solved alone by themselves. I thought that the forum could help residents achieve healthy and comfortable living, Grönlund tells.
The members of the forum include chairmen of housing associations, shareholders, and other residents. The collaboration forum activity has been well received in Lappeenranta.
– After the member meetings, I have received phone calls from participants praising the contents and the meetings, Grönlund says happily.
Around 20 housing associations are part of the Lappeenranta collaboration forum. According to Grönlund, one of the biggest advantages of participating in the collaboration forum is the access to information.
– In the member meetings of the collaboration forum, we organize different information sessions where we receive expert knowledge from representatives of companies, for example. The housing associations receive an information package which also helps in promoting their high-quality decision-making.
In addition, the collaboration forum is an important discussion channel between residents and the maintenance company. The opportunity for discussion increases the residents’ understanding of the practices and rules of the housing association and the maintenance company.
According to Jorma Grönlund, the residents appreciate the practical instructions for living that they have received in the collaboration forum.
– Concrete tips and advice help residents take care of their apartments.
Jorma Grönlund says that another goal for the future would be to use the same management company for houses along the same street.
– Reducing excess driving would also be an environmental act, Grönlund sums up.
Joint procurements as future goals
Current issues related to housing are discussed at the forum meetings. Presentation topics provided by experts at the Lappeenranta collaboration forum have included themes such as solar panel installation possibilities, electric vehicle charging possibilities, heat recovery ventilation methods, and existing air conditioning systems.
Energy saving options, energy communities, heat pumps, indoor air quality, geothermal heat and ground water areas have also been discussed in the collaboration forum. In addition, there are plans about implementing joint procurements in the future. The benefit of joint procurements, where more housing associations implement the same measure, is that unit prices become more affordable.
From the service provider’s point of view, the joint procurement is also appealing, when instead of one single housing association there are several associations interested to implement the same measure. For example, implementing solar power plants and heating systems as joint procurement would help achieve cost savings.
According to energy advisor Tanja Nyholm, the energy audits which will be conducted for 13 housing associations in the near future are one of the most important steps to gather relevant data for the implementation phase of joint procurements.
– Joint procurements will be planned based on the energy audit results by comparing suggested measures for each building. The final target of the joint procurement piloting is to launch a tested and workable ‘model of renovation package’ for the use of housing associations and multi apartment buildings. Furthermore, the energy advisory services are developed at the same time in a way in which it will assist the customers to find more detailed information and advises to help them to implement planned energy efficiency measures. This operating model can be shared and applied for other partners and also for regional energy advisors, tells Pylkkö.
Developing an extended one stop shop model for energy advisory services
The main result of the RenoWave project will be a One-Stop-Shop model that includes traditional and additional one stop shop services that cover all the steps that are necessary to initiate and implement energy-efficiency renovation projects in multi-apartment buildings.
One goal of the RenoWave project participants is to establish collaboration forum activities in their countries. The Lappeenranta collaboration forum serves as an example and model for others. The City of Lappeenranta has drafted a guide for establishing collaboration forums. The final version of the guide will also include the experiences of piloting joint procurements.
The purpose of developing an extended one stop shop is to increase the implementation of energy efficiency measures for home-owned multiapartment buildings in all project partner countries.
The city of Lappeenranta and the collaboration forum are part of the RenoWave project, which focuses on the energy efficiency of buildings. The project partners consist of regional and local authorities and energy agencies from seven Baltic Sea Region countries: Finland, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, and Estonia.
RenoWave is financed by the Interreg Baltic Sea Region program of the European Union.
Information prepared by Vanessa Techera, Communications Assistant, Greenreality City of Lappeenranta