Antti Hänninen,

How to save energy in commercial and public buildings

This autumn we have been faced with drastically increased electricity prices, and price peaks that are higher than before are here to stay. A wise property owner not only considers actions to save energy next winter, but sees the changes in the big picture.

Price peaks for exchange electricity have been a hot topic in recent weeks. We have read the news of some factories moving to work only on night shifts, and noticed the soft drink fridges in retail stores being turned off. There is even reason to prepare for power outages next winter, when production capacity may not be  enough to meet momentary spikes in demand. However, there is no need to dispair in this situation, as even small measures can mitigate the impact of the price increases. At the same time, it should be noted that price peaks are here to stay.

Using Finland as an example, about 87 terawatt hours of electricity were used in Finland last year. According to Fingrid's forecasts, consumption will increase slightly, depending on the scenario, to 120–145 terawatt hours by 2035. New wind turbines are being built at a breakneck pace, and in 2030 their total annual output is predicted to be approximately 30 terawatt hours. Wind power can therefore cover about a third of the current consumption, and perhaps completely cover the increased consumption.

In practice, this means that when the wind blows, electricity is almost free. This will be the case about a third of the time. On the other hand, when there is no wind and no sun, electricity is extremely expensive. According to forecasts, the price will peak – even above the levels of the past few weeks – about 15% of the time.

Battery and hydrogen technology are currently not developing fast enough. Maintaining and building fossil fuel -based backup power is expensive. Therefore, the fluctuation of the energy price will be permanent when we increase the share of emission-free forms of electricity production in the total energy mix.

However, the fluctuation of the energy price does not have to be reflected in a property owner's heating and electricity bills. By investing in properties that are multi-energy optimized and share resources in real time, we cut both emissions and costs.

What is a multi-energy optimised property?

A multi-energy optimised property means a property where the energy source is selected in real time according to the current price and availability of energy.

For example, when the price of electricity is low, the property can be heated and cooled with heat pumps. Excess heat can be sold to the district heating network, and the sales revenue compensates for the temporary increases in electricity consumption. During the hours when the price is at its highest, the building resorts to district heating and runs electricity-intesnive technology at a lower power.

In a multi-energy optimized property, the building management system makes real-time selections automatically based on, for example, the spot price of electricity and the heat price for district heating.

Instead of individual islands, real estate and electricity/heating networks form a network where resources can be distributed sparingly to those who need them the most. The network can also be called a smart city. In this way, we ensure that our carbon dioxide emissions remain under control and that there is enough affordable energy for everyone.    

How to survive this winter?

From the big picture to the practical:

Exchange electricity will be expensive this winter, so saving energy is worthwhile. We have collected a list of concrete measures and quick investments that can be used to reduce energy consumption. These tips will help you get through this winter, and our experts would be happy to discuss changes in the big picture with you in person!

Click here to download the guidebook

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Practical steps you can take to improve the energy efficiency of your building

Download the guide to help understand what you can do (in the short and long term) to improve the energy efficiency of your building.

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