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The Aging Population and Tightening Energy Regulations Create New Cooperation Models within the Building Industry

TECHNOPOLIS PLC       PRESS RELEASE         January 25, 2012 at 11.00

The Aging Population and Tightening Energy Regulations Create New Cooperation Models within the Building Industry

The new energy efficiency requirements and the strongly increasing demand for healthcare facility construction drive building operators towards whole new cooperation in order to find innovative solutions. The business cluster established by Fira and Technopolis acts as a good example.

To be entered into force in July, the new building regulations that improve energy efficiency bring along one of the greatest changes in the entire Finnish building history. The regulations put a tight rein on how much energy a new building can consume. It also prescribes requirements associated with the building shell and technical systems. The regulations also encourage buildings to produce part of the energy they consume.

The new regulations have a strong impact on the design and construction of building structures.

“Construction companies have never faced such development pressures as they do currently. The new regulations add freedom to design and create conditions for improving building quality. However, we need unprejudiced cooperation between several different operators, and new business models. Companies that can offer inventive, reliable and low-cost energy efficiency solutions have the upper hand,” says Miska Eriksson, Vice President of construction company Fira.

The new E-factor sets a framework

The new energy regulations for the building industry are summarized in the E-factor to be adopted in Finland in July. To put it simply, this means that the factor indicates a building-specific upper limit for energy consumption. The way the energy used in the building has an impact on the energy certificate: the more energy efficient the heating method, ventilation, lighting and water heating system is, the better the E-factor is. The method encourages to use renewable energy sources, such as geothermal heat, and solar, wind and bioenergy.

“Through the adoption of the E-factor, direct electric heating will no longer be installed in new detached houses,” Eriksson says.

The E-factor accelerates the need for more energy efficient construction methods and raises the importance of quality control. When insulation thicknesses in buildings increase, there can be fewer errors within the structures.

Another trend which strongly guides the building industry is the aging population. According to estimates, the need for various nursing homes will double over the next ten years.

“We need to build dozens, even hundreds new nursing homes in Finland at a very tight schedule. In order to be able to build nursing homes of different sizes fast and energy efficiently, we are now developing a totally new building concept,” Eriksson says.

Responding to challenges through cooperation

Specialized in service construction, Fira Oy, together with Technopolis, decided to establish a cooperation cluster, consisting of various construction companies. Its members develop, offer and apply services that increase energy efficiency and improve the utilization of renewable energy sources within the building industry. The first ever event open for new operators was organized as a video conference last week with the aim of finding new solutions and members to join the cluster. Over 50 participants from nine towns signed up for the event.

“We are looking for innovative partners that can offer solutions to develop the energy efficiency of new building projects or existing buildings. The tightening energy regulations should be seen as a possibility which may give birth to new and innovative business operations. Cooperation offers a good solution for the common challenges”, says Kari Kokkonen, Director of Real Estate Operations at Technopolis.

“In addition to increasing cooperation within the energy and cleantech cluster, the leading idea is to have efficient and unlimited operations. Through videoconferencing, we are able, eco-efficiently while saving time, to find new ideas and partners all over Finland – and possibly at an international level”, Kokkonen says.

The new energy efficiency regulations set by the Ministry of the Environment enable a quicker transition towards the zero energy construction required in EU directives. The tighter regulations bring an improvement of 20 percent on average to the energy efficiency required in the current building code.

More information

Miska Eriksson
Vice President
Fira Oy
Tel. +358 400 869 055, miska.eriksson@fira.fi

Kari Kokkonen
Director, Real Estate Operations
Technopolis Plc
Tel. +358 46 712 0117, kari.kokkonen@technopolis.fi

Fira Oy is a growing construction company which modifies the building industry. Its head office is located in Vantaa. Fira Oy has a firm foothold in the Helsinki region where Fira has built a number of demanding sites. Fira’s annual turnover in 2011 stood at EUR 50 million. Fira builds business and factory premises, power plants and nursing homes both for the private and the public sector.

Technopolis Plc is a leading listed company specializing in business environments and services for knowledge-based companies. The Technopolis service portfolio combines business and development services with modern facilities. At present, approximately 20,000 people work and almost 1,300 companies do business at Technopolis facilities in Espoo, Helsinki, Jyväskylä, Kuopio, Lappeenranta, Oulu, Tampere and Vantaa in Finland, as well as St. Petersburg in Russia and Tallinn in Estonia. Technopolis Plc is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.

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