The project ‘Energy Choice’, was launched by the city of Lahti in 2016 to encourage citizens to renovate their properties through providing information on the potential financial and CO2 savings as a result of adopting energy-efficient solutions.
Lahti approved its environmental programme, including new targets for 2030 and 2050, in June 2018. This ambitious programme serves as a roadmap for Lahti to achieve its objective to become carbon neutral by 2025. For its outstanding achievements, and its ability to produce applicable environmental solutions for other cities and for various conditions, Lahti won the European Green Capital Award for the year 2021. The Finnish city has already cut down greenhouse emissions by 70% compared to the level of 1990. To continue towards carbon neutrality, Lahti launched the project Energy Choice in 2016 to help citizens to reduce CO2 emissions through shifting their energy production from fossil fuels to renewable and greener sources. The project provides information and practical evidence of the potential financial and CO2 savings in citizens’ properties. It targeted Lahti and Lappeenranta.
Energy Choice has proved to be a helpful tool to Lahti’s city-owned ren-tal housing company Lahden Talot Ltd. Besides helping in the housing company’s long-term budgeting, the platform has provided insight into properties’ energy consumption, and helped make choices for retro-fitting the houses that are oldest and in a worse condition and build new energy-efficient ones. For instance, Vapaudenkatu 28, a five-floor residential apartment building owned by Lahden Talot Ltd., has been retrofitted by using Energy Choice. The Energy Choice tool showed the potential of CO2 savings annually for solar power, solar heat and green certified electricity, to respectively 6,600, 1,400, and 40,000 kg of CO2 annually. Using the tool to assess the CO2 savings potential, those renovating Vapaudenkatu 28 decided to include interventions for green certified electricity.
The project is a first step for property owners to begin exploring diffe-rent energy sources, and provides them with visual and concrete data on their building’s solar energy potential, and other green energy sources. The city of Lahti is now preparing a new campaign to encou-rage building renovations aimed at those whose heating is based on fossil fuels. In this context, Energy Choice will play an important role as part of the campaign. Finally, the Finnish municipality wants to inte-grate energy and air experts to provide advice to citizens and show the co-benefits of building interventions.