The Finnish capital Helsinki has adopted a commitment on ensuring the city’s building portfolio is wholly carbon neutral by 2030.
Helsinki has become a signatory to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment developed by the World Green Building Council, an international network of 70 sustainable building councils. The commitment, which has been adopted by both private companies and public authorities, pledges participants to ensure that the portfolios of buildings for which they are responsible produce net zero carbon emissions by 2030. Helsinki has declared it aims to become fully carbon neutral by 2035; and with more than 50% of carbon emissions produced in the city emanating from buildings, city authorities have set a range of clear targets for increasing buildings’ energy efficiency.
Mayor of Helsinki Jan Vapaavuori said: “Climate change is the most crucial challenge of our time and Helsinki is at the forefront of the fight against it. The heating energy needed must be reduced systematically. That is why the buildings are at the core of the fight against climate change. Helsinki is committed to carrying out very ambitious measures on its portfolio of buildings to reduce the heating consumption and increase the use of renewable energy. Through our own actions, we lead others to take action as well.”
Helsinki has also introduced Climate Watch, an online tool for assessing the city’s progress on each of the 147 measures outlined in its Carbon Neutral Helsinki 2035 Action Plan. In order to become carbon neutral by 2035, Helsinki has introduced a series of policies designed to reduce emissions citywide by 80%; and will issue compensation for the remaining 20%. Esa Nikunen, Director General of the City of Helsinki Environmental Services, said: “We prepared our Carbon Neutral Helsinki 2035 Action Plan very transparently; and would like to carry on this way also while reporting on its implementation and assessing the next steps. I believe that we will find the Climate Watch to be an efficient tool. Other local authorities are also free to make use of it.”