SAMK aspiring to become carbon neutral

SAMK is part of Arene Program for sustainable development and responsibility. The program creates a framework for a more sustainable and responsible future for all Universities of Applied Sciences in Finland. SAMK wants to be carbon neutral by the year 2030.

1.10.2021 | By: Inna Saarinen | Photo: Inna Saarinen

Tero Hämäläinen seisoo Porin kampuksen pihassa.

Mr. Hämäläinen stands in the yard of the Pori Campus at the point where the geoenergy wells were installed. The locations of the wells can be seen from the asphalt patches.

SAMK aims to become carbon neutral by the year 2030. We asked Mr. Tero Hämäläinen, property and safety manager at SAMK, what does this mean in practice.

– Carbon neutrality is just one of the objectives of the Arene Program. There is also a working group on sustainable development and responsibility at SAMK. This group has begun to prepare our own plan. For instance, the biggest sources of emissions at SAMK are transportation and the energy consumption of our buildings. We need to focus on reducing all emissions.

SAMK uses geothermal energy which refers to renewable solar energy stored in the earth. Heat pumps use the energy from bedrocks for heating and cooling buildings throughout the year. Our students learn a lot about this energy system and use the data collected in energy production in their studies.

– In summer 2020 the owner of SAMK premises, Hemsö, began a geothermal energy project. 36 wells for geothermal heat were drilled below the parking area in front of the railway station. The wells are 350 meters deep. This system lowers heating and cooling emissions by over 90 per cent, says Mr. Hämäläinen.

Many choices for sustainable development

The bedrock below the parking area is like a huge battery which stores the summer heat for winter.

– Vice versa, the energy stored during winter months is used to cool the buildings in summertime. The electricity for the heat pumps is produced by green energy too since we buy wind power.

The owner of the properties must invest a lot in geothermal projects.

– We rent SAMK campuses. We wish that the example given by Pori Campus would encourage our other campus landlords to consider ecological solutions to support carbon neutrality. We wish our facilities would be as ecological as possible.

Do you have other sustainable development plans at SAMK?

– In the first phase we will map our sources of emissions. As I said, transportation and our buildings are the biggest sources of emissions.

SAMK has already earlier done a lot to support more ecological and carbon neutral decisions and choices.

– We will certainly pay even more attention to this in the future when selecting service providers, travel options and different acquisitions. Digivision 2030 and other similar projects will have their own indirect impact in reaching the targets. There is a lot of expertise and knowhow at SAMK, so we are partners in many other similar projects in Satakunta and Finland, Mr. Hämäläinen says.

Geoenergiatyömaa

Geothermal project

SAMK and Kesko share the building near Station square in Pori. Geothermal energy is used for heating and cooling and produced on the spot. The project is part of SAMK’s and Real Estate company Hemsö’s carbonneutral plan.

During summer 2020 the geothermal wells were being drilled at Pori Campus.

1.10.2021 | By: Inna Saarinen | Photo: Inna Saarinen

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