Ecocampus 2030 – best practices for an energy self-sufficient campus

Our critical success factor is to produce long-term cost-effective solutions, and the aim is eventually to make the Otaniemi Campus energy self-sufficient by 2030. The development of regional energy solutions on a campus level is only just beginning.  As part of the Ecocampus 2030 project, Aalto University Properties Ltd made a best practice study of regional energy network systems used by international forerunner campuses. Also, the ownership and investment arrangements of energy solutions in campus environments as well as business and contract models were studied.

The benchmarking was conducted by studying sustainability and campus networks, and EU programmes, and by making internet and literature reviews and follow up interviews. Although the study did not recognize comprehensive energy self-sufficient campuses, it identified altogether 18 campuses of interest utilizing renewable energy production or regional energy grid solutions. Three of these campuses were studied in a more detailed level. The studied campuses were focused e.g. in energy storage solutions and the utilisation of regional natural gas, geo- and solar energy in smart heating and cooling and electricity grids.

The best practices benchmarking study shows that there are no emission-free campuses achieving energy self-sufficiency. However, the study identified practices used by pioneering campuses in the field of energy solutions. The results provide extensive understanding of existing solutions as well as present the characteristics in circumstances and operating environments in different countries.

The results of the study can be utilised when evaluating the most applicable energy solutions on a campus or regional level. However, the benefits, risks, potential and adaptability should be assessed on a case-by-case basis when considering solutions in Otaniemi Campus. Case results will act as examples and guidelines on e.g. project planning of future Ecocampus 2030 investment projects, gathering partners and financing as well as more generally in creating long-term energy self-sufficient and emission-free campus visions. The best practice data will be utilized also when compiling the project organization and the regional consortium.

In the future, Aalto University Properties Ltd will continue to keep track of global energy self-sufficiency best practices for recognising new applicable technologies and solutions. It will also broaden its collaboration with researchers and experts in the field of energy grids and storage solutions in order to utilize best competence and innovative implementation methods.