The ecovillage of ten detached houses in Kempele is the first of its kind in Europe. What makes the project unique is the fact that the residential area is based entirely on renewable energy and it is not connected to the national electric power network.
Electrical and heat energy for the ecovillage are produced entirely in its own CHP plant from wood chips and using wind power. The aim of the pilot project is to create energy self-sufficiency based on renewable energy sources, a communal spirit and to save energy.
— The houses in the area have been built to a low energy standard. The heating is underfloor heating based on water circulation and all the technical solutions have endeavoured to use electricity saving solutions, stresses Juha Sipilä, Managing Director of Fortel Components Oy, which built the ecovillage.
The energy for the area is produced from wood chips through gasification. Gas is burned in the wood gas generator and the houses are heated through the waste heat created in the production of electricity.
— A local heating network has been built in the area, which has been constructed to prevent heat loss as a low temperature system, explains Sipilä.
Every house has a 700-litre water tank that provides water quickly. It is easy to produce low temperature water from waste heat from the production of electricity, so separate heat production is not necessary at all. The energy for the supply air units in the houses comes from the CHP plant.
— By using energy saving solutions and renewable energy, we aim to significantly reduce the energy bill. The builders in the area are also keen on energy saving solutions themselves, states Sipilä.
Interest in the ecovillage
In addition to common regulations and recommendations, ventilation preheating which uses geothermal heat, and which is used for cooling in summer, has been installed in some of the houses. Cooling using electricity is not allowed in the area.
— The performance tests have been encouraging. The ecovillage has generated a great deal of interest both in Finland and abroad. Visitors from countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, the Ukraine and Holland have visited the area.
Clean energy and construction that supports it is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world.
— Finland has a strong foundation on which to build new expertise and businesses around this global trend, says Sipilä.www.fortel.fi