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The residential area being built in Oulu’s Karjasilta has an energy system that is unique in Finland


Oulu's new residential area, Karjasillan Kulma, will be built in the next ten years. In addition to Hartela Oy, Oulun Energia is involved in the construction project.


The Oulun Energia and Hartela project responds extremely well to the climate objectives of the City of Oulu. The objective of the energy and climate agreement is to reduce greenhouse gases by at least 40% by 2030.

A new residential area will be built in Karjasilta in Oulu, whose inhabitants are automatically involved in paving the way to a carbon-neutral world. Hartela is the builder of the residential area. The construction work has started this year, and the first apartment buildings in the area are due to be completed next summer. Karjasillan Kulma will be completed one building at a time in the next ten years.

In the design and implementation of Karjasillan Kulma, strong consideration has been given to ecology, sustainable development, and the carbon neutrality objectives of the City of Oulu.

“Sustainable development and climate change mitigation are part of responsible business operations. At Hartela, sustainable development is an important part of our strategy to commit to shared environmental goals,” says Markku Taskinen, CEO of Hartela Pohjois-Suomi Oy.

Hartela has started extensive cooperation with Oulun Energia. The companies have signed an impressive project agreement that meets the City of Oulu's climate objectives. The purpose of the cooperation has been to develop a climate-friendly and cost-effective energy system, which also significantly increases the standard of living.

“The cooperation with Oulun Energia started already in 2015, and it has progressed well. The parties have worked closely together to find innovative solutions for Karjasillan Kulma's energy solutions. Various options have been studied openly and external experts have been used as well, when necessary,” says Taskinen.

An ecological energy system increases the standard of living

Oulun Energia will implement an ecological energy system in the new residential area of Karjasilta, which will be unique in Finland. At the heart of the climate-friendly solution is the district heating network.

“Karjasillan Kulma is an area where the possibilities of the district heating network can be utilised to their fullest extent. The project is a step towards the fourth generation of district heating and energy recycling,” says Kimmo Alatulkkila, the heating service manager at Oulun Energia.


Karjasillan Kulma is the first residential area in Oulu to have a cooling network made possible by a district heating network. "The utilisation of the district heating network has had to be taken into account from the early stages of construction," says Juho Peltoniemi, foreman.

Karjasillan Kulma is the first residential area in Oulu to have a cooling network made possible by a district heating network. In addition to residential comfort, the cooling network ensures that all the heat generated by cooling can be utilised in the district heating network.

“Technical systems enable residents to monitor and control apartment-specific conditions, which together with site-specific cooling solutions creates a framework for comfortable and ecological living,” says Markku Taskinen.

The aim is that the production equipment will be able to produce 80 per cent of the heating energy and 100 per cent of the cooling energy used in the area. Other heating energy needs are implemented with district heating.

Different energy solutions work best together

In recent years, Oulun Energia has put an enormous amount of work into a carbon-neutral future and a circular economy. The company has invested in the circular economy by investing in new plants and technology. The new investments aim to ensure that Oulun Energia's own energy production will be carbon-neutral in 2030.

Kimmo Alatulkkila does not want to set different forms of energy against each other. It is more a question of advancing side by side, because at their best, different energy solutions complement each other.

In addition to solar panels and wind power, for example, the district heating network is an important factor in enabling new technologies.

“Oulu's extensive district heating network enables a cleaner future with new solutions. District heat is a flexible system that enables the recycling of energy – the heat does not disappear into thin air, but it can instead be utilised,” says Alatulkkila.

Kimmo Alatulkkila believes that district heating is the fastest way to achieve carbon neutrality in Finland.

“Outside the district heating network, there are various smart solutions, but in densely built urban areas, the district heating network serves as a platform for building future energy solutions.”

Cooperation is needed to achieve climate objectives

Kimmo Alalulkkila hopes that the cooperation model that has now been implemented and proven to be good will also be applied to other residential areas in the future.

“In order to meet the climate goals of Finland and Europe, more and more cooperation between different actors is needed,” notes Alatulkkila.

Although renewable energy has helped to reduce emissions from housing in recent years, most of the Finnish people's carbon footprint still comes from housing. That is why consumers' choices also matter.

“People are becoming more and more aware, and ecology is an increasingly important value. As an energy company, we want to make life easier for consumers and their choices. As our customer, you’re automatically involved in the fight against climate change,” says Alatulkkila.

In addition to district heating as a solution for a more ecological future, district heating is a worry-free and easy choice for the customer.

“We provide our customers with heating and cooling, and the customer does not have to worry about anything. District heat is a safe choice, as we guarantee that all agreed-upon requirements are met,” says Alatulkkila.