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Outdoor lighting and indoor temperatures adjusted – how the city reduces energy consumption

Various disruptions to electricity prices and availability are forecast for the winter period 2022–2023. Helsinki is preparing with swift and, if necessary, temporary measures to reduce energy consumption and costs and to safeguard services. The aim is to reduce consumption by optimising temperatures and ventilation in all suitable city premises, and by reducing energy consumption at sports facilities by various means. In addition, energy will be saved from outdoor lighting and thawing systems for thoroughfares.

The city is stepping up measures to adapt its electricity consumption, building on previous policies. These measures include:

• adjusting the ventilation in city-owned and tenant-occupied premises in accordance with the building’s operating hours and the city’s ventilation guidelines,
• reducing the heating in city-owned and tenant-occupied premises, including indoor sports facilities (excluding pool premises at swimming halls), libraries, youth centres, cultural centres and museums (excluding HAM and the Helsinki City Museum Collection Centre, where the temperature cannot be lowered because of the artworks),
• adjusting the heating and ventilation of vacant or little-used buildings and premises,
• providing energy renovation advice to city residents,
• providing energy-saving training material to city employees
• scheduling the charging of city-owned electric vehicles for night-time.

On the city’s premises, indoor temperatures will be set at the lower limit of the national guideline values, generally at 20°C. In certain buildings, such as housing services for the disabled and elderly, the temperature will be kept higher at 21 to 22°C.
The temperatures in the premises will continue to be kept within the guidelines, but the aim is to avoid overheating.

Ventilation running times and power levels will also be adjusted more precisely to suit the need. In addition, the correct functioning of the lighting and eaves thawing control systems in the buildings will be ensured. The aim is also to reduce the simultaneous heating and cooling of buildings. Particular attention will be paid to the energy consumption of technical building systems in empty and secondary premises.

The city’s Energy Renaissance team will offer housing companies free advice on energy-saving renovations. City employees will be given energy-saving tips and guidance on energy-saving measures.

Park and street lighting will be dimmed

The city will reduce the energy consumption of outdoor lighting from the beginning of November. Street and park lighting will be dimmed where remotely controlled LED lamps are available. The dimming will be increased during the hours when electricity consumption is the highest. Lighting on sports trails will also be dimmed from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. These dimming measures will start in stages, as their implementation will require extensive modifications to some outdoor lighting network connections.

The Christmas lights in public areas will only be switched on during the Christmas period, from the opening of Christmas Street until Epiphany weekend. However, most of the Christmas lights, such as those on Aleksanterinkatu, get their electricity from the adjacent properties, so it is up to the property owners to decide.

In Helsinki’s public areas, energy is also used to keep some of the thoroughfares thawed. In the future, remotely controlled thawing systems for flights of steps will be switched off when the hourly electricity price is high, and when there is no snowfall forecast. Heated steps for which there are alternative routes will be switched off and closed for the winter period. The thawing system on Aleksanterinkatu will continue to be used, but its use will be adjusted to save energy. The Töölönlahti sea water pump will also be closed for the winter period.

Saving energy at indoor and outdoor sports facilities too

To prepare for the energy situation, the following measures will be taken at the city’s sports facilities:

• the saunas at the swimming halls will not be on at the same time and the Itäkeskus steam sauna will be closed until further notice,
• the heating of artificial turf pitches will be more carefully adapted to the weather conditions,
• the freezing of artificial ice rinks will start when the weather conditions are favourable (excl. the Brahenkenttä and Oulunkylä artificial ice rinks, which will be open as normal).

The use of the saunas at the City of Helsinki Sports Services’ swimming halls, i.e. Itäkeskus, Jakomäki, Pirkkola and Yrjönkatu, will be restricted so that not all saunas will be on at the same time. In addition, the steam sauna at Itäkeskus swimming hall will be closed until further notice. At Urheiluhallit Oy’s swimming halls, the opening hours of saunas will also be restricted on weekdays before 4 p.m. in those places where there are several saunas. This applies to the Mäkelänrinne, Vuosaari, Töölö and Helsinginkatu swimming halls. Despite the restrictions, the city encourages residents to enjoy the saunas at the swimming halls instead of their own saunas at home.

For outdoor sports facilities, the heating of artificial turf pitches will be reduced. The heating period will be shortened depending on the weather conditions. The current heating limit is -10°C but this winter the limit will be increased to -5°C. The heating of the pitches will therefore be switched off if the temperature is below -5°C. The situation will be reviewed during the winter season if training conditions become unacceptably difficult.

The freezing of artificial ice rinks in Helsinki will start when the average daily temperature is below 2°C. In the past, freezing started when the average temperature fell below 5°C. If winter temperatures remain above 2°C, freezing will start in mid-December and end by the end of February 2023. However, the Brahenkenttä and Oulunkylä artificial ice rinks will be frozen according to the normal schedule when the weather conditions allow, i.e. from mid-November to mid-March.

From 10 October 2022, the city will communicate on energy issues at:

The City of Helsinki is involved in Motiva’s Down a Degree campaign, which starts today at the beginning of national Energy Saving Week.

Photo: Virpi Peltola

More information:
Energy renovations
Monitoring of the Carbon Neutral Helsinki Action Plan
Down a degree – To ensure energy for us all (Motiva)
Energy saving tips / Helen
Questions and answers about electricity shortages – Fingrid