Moving forward heating decarbonisation with the Helsinki Energy Challenge



The 23 June 2021 from 10:30 until 11:30



The City of Helsinki aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035. Currently, more than half of the city’s emissions originate from heating. Due to the cold climate, the heat demand in Helsinki is significant and has a strong correlation to outdoor temperatures. Today, more than half of the city’s district heat is produced with coal and more than 30% with natural gas. Helsinki is committed to decarbonising its heating system and is, like many other cities, in need of radically new solutions to meet its heat demand and carbon neutrality goal.

To find the best future-proof solutions, the city organised the Helsinki Energy Challenge, an international, one-million-euro challenge competition. The competition was a year-long process and the learnings throughout this journey have been eye-opening for the city.

Out of 252 applications and ten finalists, four teams of innovators won the challenge, although as Helsinki Mayor Jan Vapaavuori pointed out, “the biggest winner of the challenge is Helsinki itself and also other cities around the world that can benefit from the knowledge and insights gathered here”

The Covenant of Mayors Office and the city of Helsinki organise a series of two webinars to draw the lessons from this challenge, explore what cities can learn from Helsinki’s unique approach to the topic, and how they can replicate the solutions to other local contexts.

This session will focus on the lessons learned through the competition process, especially regarding the depth of the challenge from the view point of different stakeholders and the role a city should play in driving the heating decarbonisation:

  • The perspective from the city: where did this challenge originate from? How did it change the approach of the city? Which successes and difficulties did the city face in organising such a challenge? What are the different solutions proposed?

Jan Vapaavuori, Helsinki Mayor, Laura Uuttu-Deschryvere, Project Director, Helsinki Energy Challenge and Kaisa-Reeta Koskinen, Carbon Neutral Helsinki Project Director

  • The perspective from one winning team – the Smart Salt City: what did the team learn in working with a city? What does it take to innovate a solution for a city on the topic of decarbonising urban heating system?

Corey Blackman, SaltX Technology AB, Smart Salt City team

Interested in this event? Get the full agenda and register here.

Find out more on the first session on the Helsinki Energy Challenge results here.