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Ekoviikki - Sustainable City Projects in Helsinki

Ekoviikki in Helsinki is the largest sustainable building site in Finland. There are demonstrated a range of environmental and energy concepts and it introduces new planning approaches for sustainable suburbs.


Helsinki is the northernmost capital of the EU. The city has a strong commitment to enhance sustainability. Viikki suburb in Helsinki is a science and housing area under construction situated in the outskirts of a EU-Natura region. Here Helsinki City applies ecological and sustainability guidelines in full urban scale. Viikki area represents halving of energy use and environmenta limpacts compared to present already strict standards in Finland.

A special feature of Ekoviikki is that sustainability is considered as a whole. Due to the cold climate, the energy aspects have received much attention – the solar energy access of the whole site is good, renewable energy and energy efficiency are promoted.


The sustainable city subproject in Viikki is the ecological building site called Ekoviikki (1999-2003). It is situated a mere 8 kilometres from the city centre of Helsinki. The Ekoviikki site houses 2,000 inhabitants and represents a built area of 64,000 m2. It includes innovative environmental and energy concepts. Multi-criteria decision-making criteria have been applied to account for different aspects of sustainability in the city, site, and building planning.

The solar access of the whole site is good, renewable energy and energy efficiency is promoted. The largest solar projects in Finland are realized at Ekoviikki covering more than half of the buildings. Eight building integrated solar heating systems with a total area of 1,246 m2 produce 15 % of the total heating demand of the housing area and half of the DHW load in 400 apartments. Next generation of buildings in Viikki will have even stricter criteria for sustainability.


In Ekoviikki, special consideration has been given to the ecological and sustainable planning principles using the PIMWAG approach. This method is a multi-criteria evaluation and decision-making method in which five major factors effecting the building’s environmental performance are considered. Health and sustainability are two of the factors considered.

Ekoviikki PV Building project in brief:

  • largest photovoltaic application in a residential building in Finland (2002-2003);
  • innovative PV balcony concepts;
  • important reference for PV market development.

The project is part of the EU PV-Nord project. The PV technology and distributed energy system control has been developed partly with funding from the National Technology Agency (Tekes). The demonstration system was fully operational in 2003.

Ekoviikki EU solar heating project in brief:

  • largest solar energy project in Finland (1999-2001);
  • innovative solar heating concepts (building integration, combisystems);
  • important reference for solar market development in Finland.

Housing area with solar heating
The Ekoviikki solar energy demonstration project consists of nine separate solar heating systems each integrated into the roofs or overhangs. The collector area is 1,246 m2 and as such largest ever constructed in Finland. Since the building planning did not start before the solar project, the siting,placing and sizing (pre-design) of the solar modules have been possible.

Solar heating systems
Eight building integrated solar heating systems with a total area of 1,246 m2produce 15% of the total heating demand of the housing area and half of the DHWload in 400 apartments. The whole Ekoviikki housing area is 64,000 m2 and halfof that area is connected to the solar energy systems. The solar heating systemsprovide dhw and in some cases also space heating through floor heating. Newsolar combisystems, collector roof integration, low-flow schemes, parallel useof solar and district heating and large area modules (unit size 10 m2) aredemonstrated in Ekoviikki. The system can operate at relatively low temperaturesand consequently reach higher solar yields. And the system fits well with thedistrict heating system.

The evaluation of the Ekoviikki area and its energy solutions wasfinished by the end of year 2004. The results indicated clear improvements inenergy and environmental performing of buildings. Experts consider thatEkoviikki nowhere near represents perfect ecoliving. However, the constructioncosts have turned out to be only around five percent higher than normal. If itis possible to achieve such remarkable emission reductions and energy savings ascheaply as this, then the result cannot be bad.
When finished in year 2010, the Viikki suburb will have over 10,000 inhabitants.It will represent a high-level sustainable area in urban scale with approachesthat can be applied widely in Europe and in northern climates.

InhabitantSurvey in Eko-Viikki
The satisfaction of the inhabitants in Ekoviikki has been measuredby a survey.


The project is coordinated by Solpros Ay, a Finnish company specializing in solar energy solutions. Five major builders in the City of Helsinki, ATT, VVO, Skanska, ESY and Helas have been participating in the project. The European Commission and the Technology Agency Tekes have supported the project.

EU involvement

The Ekoviikki project has been part of the European energy demonstration programme Thermie. The project reference number is REB71/98/FI and its name is "Integration of large-scale solar thermal scheme into a major urban ecological housing area in Helsinki”. The project was completed by the end of 2001.


The European Commission, the National Technology Agency (TEKES) and Ministry of Environment have provided financial support to Ekoviikki project. The project is part of the EU PV-Nord project.

Contact info

Solpros Ay
Ms Heidrun Faninger-Lund


01 Jan 2010

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