October 11, 2017

Finnish town of Ii sets the pace for green Europe

Ii is located in the Northern Ostrobothnia region.
Ii is located in the Northern Ostrobothnia region.

The EU-funded InnoHiili project taking place in Ii, Finland, has won the Climate Change category at the European Commission’s RegioStars2017 Awards in Brussels.

The EU-wide competition recognises the most innovative and inspiring EU-funded projects. The Finnish winner is known as Innovative Low-Carbon Public Services project (InnoHiili).

Ii, with a population of 10 000, reduced its CO2 emissions by half during 2007–2015, which was the fastest rate in the country. This initiated the InnoHiili project in 2015.

The project is carried out by Micropolis and The Designers’ Association of Northern Finland (PROTO) in close co-operation with Ii’s residents.

“We are solving a global problem in Ii, in a way that can be duplicated in any small municipality,” says Johannes Helama, executive director of PROTO, in a release. “Sizewise we represent the majority of Europe’s municipalities. That might be part of the reason we did so well in the competition.”

Ii now strives to hit the Finnish Environment Institute’s climate target of reducing emissions by 80 per cent by 2030, which is 10 years ahead of time and more than 30 years faster than the EU climate target.

As a result of the project, all public buildings in Ii are now heated with renewable energy, electric cars take municipality workers on business trips, and Ii’s first cycle path has been built. All schools and daycare centres also participate in the Euronet 50/50 energy-saving programme, an EU eco-label has been introduced for businesses, and public services have been digitalised.