Consulted by Vahanen Group, the shopping centre Skanssi achieved a LEED Gold certificate for existing building in the fall of 2012, thus making it the first shopping centre in Europe to achieve two LEED certifications. In the summer of 2013 a solar power plant was installed to the roof of the shopping centre, which will help to replace about 65 MWh of bought electricity annually.
The aim for the LEED project was to reduce the property’s water and energy consumption, minimize environmental effects and maintain good indoor conditions. By executing the measures demanded by the certification, savings worth over 200 000 euros have been able to be reached within a year.As continuation to the LEED project, the shopping centre ordered further research from Vahanen Group to study the possibilities of taking advantage of renewable energy sources. As result, solar power systems were concluded to be the best solution regarding the conditions and possibilities of the shopping centre. The costs of solar power systems have been reduced significantly in the recent years. The Finnish Ministry of Employment and Economy grants the projects 30% of investment support, which has decreased the repayment period to being now just about 10 years. Finland has an abundance of sunlight during the summer, but the solar power plant produces electricity already from February until November. Even though the production of electricity is rather low during winter season, Skanssi’s solar power plant can achieve nearly the same production rate as similar ones in Frankfurt, Germany.As a starting point for the scale of the solar power plant in Skanssi was the use of advertisement lights in 2011, which was 65 MWh. This can be reached with around 300 solar panels that have a combined maximum power of almost 70 kW. NWE Sales Oy, which delivers the Hyundai mono-crystalline panels, was chosen as the supplier of the system. The panels were installed to the roof in late June, after which they have produced 400 kWh of electricity a day for the needs of Skanssi.
The operations are guided through ‘The Green Handbook’ which was created during the certification process and through which the property’s maintenance, utilization and tenant behaviour operations are guided towards a more environmentally efficient direction. Significant environmental benefits have been reached in Skanssi – for example the carbon footprint has been reduced by 65 per cent. Practical accomplishments include e.g. 17 per cent energy savings in district heating and electricity (2900 MWh/a, 515 MWh/a). The savings in water consumption is about 0.5 litres per client and Skanssi hosts about 3 million client visits annually.