We save energy and the environment
We minimise any environmental impact of our operations, use natural resources sparingly, generate as little waste as possible and sort it appropriately. By recycling raw materials, we reduce both the amount of waste and the need for virgin materials. To our customers, we offer products and services that we strive to produce with the highest possible energy and material efficiency.
Focus on the energy efficiency of building construction
We comply with regulations defined in legislation for the energy efficiency of new buildings. In 2020, all new buildings in Finland must have a zero energy rating. We continue to prepare for this new requirement. Many property investors require their commercial properties to be very energy efficient and executed in a manner that allows them to obtain general construction industry environmental certification, such as BREEAM or LEED. We consider these requirements already during design management.
The Kastelli community centre in Oulu, in northern Finland, built by us under the PPP model and completed in 2014, was the first Nordic school to be awarded the Gold level LEED for Schools certificate. The certificate encompasses the environmental friendliness of the entire building, assessing how ecological its key environmental aspects are. The high energy efficiency of the Kastelli community centre is based on comprehensive heat recovery and utilisation in ventilation as well as on energy-efficient lighting and lighting control. Furthermore, the building has numerous individual features that improve energy efficiency, such as condensing heat recovery in refrigeration devices and heating control on the basis of weather forecasts.
During the reporting year, the property we built for Technopolis in St Petersburg was awarded a LEED Gold certificate. Commercial premises built for the developer Etera in the Töölö Bay area in Helsinki and completed in 2014 also meet the LEED environmental certificate criteria. In addition, we are currently building a logistics centre for S Group in Sipoo in the Helsinki metropolitan area and applying for BREEAM environmental certificate for it. The certificate is awarded for above-the-norm performance in energy efficiency and minimisation of the environmental impact of a building.
A pioneer in environmentally friendly paving
Most of our environmental footprint comes from our own production, especially our paving and mineral aggregates business. In these sectors, Lemminkäinen is a pioneer in developing environmentally friendly products and operating methods in Finland.
During 2014, we increased the use of reclaimed asphalt in our own production in Finland by 15% and reduced the fuel oil and electricity costs of the production. In addition, we produced a significant amount of low-temperature asphalt at six asphalt plants. The production method of low-temperature asphalt is low in emissions and environmentally friendly. Low-temperature asphalt is produced at a substantially lower temperature than normal asphalt, which reduces fuel consumption, emissions and odour pollution.
In 2015, we will develop energy-efficiency measurement methods and monitoring in all of our operating countries. Furthermore, we will make environmental investments in several asphalt plants, enabling the production of recycled asphalt and low-temperature asphalt, for example.
Ecological and energy-saving earthworks
As a major northern European construction group, we use large volumes of different mineral aggregates as raw material. For this reason, we have approximately 300 mineral aggregate areas around our operating countries.
We aim at reducing the environmental impact of quarrying by investing in large, long-term mineral aggregate quarrying sites near urban growth centres. This makes transportation distances shorter and allows us to make investments that reduce the impact caused by the sites in their immediate surroundings. These investments include noise and protection barriers and stable and impermeable support areas. We also ensure that areas that have been used for mineral aggregate quarrying can later be utilised for construction or as an recreational area, for example.
Our goal is to constantly develop the recycling of raw materials and to utilise waste generated as a by-product of construction projects to an increasing extent.
We develop and implement methods that make it possible to replace the natural mineral aggregates used in earthworks with recovered materials. These materials can be recovered from surplus soil, industrial by-products and waste, mildly contaminated soil and materials used in old earthworks structures. For example, we use blasted rock from tunnel construction sites as raw material in foundation engineering and asphalt production.
Stabilisation is a foundation reinforcement method that uses a mineral aggregate-based binder in reinforcing soft soil, making it suitable for construction. Using recovered material, otherwise transported to a landfill site, in the binder reduces energy consumption and the environmental impact of construction.
The goal is to expand the use of the stabilisation method to different operating countries. Thus far, we have done mass stabilisation in Finland, Estonia and Sweden.
We are developing the entire industry in cooperation with authorities and other industry players. For example, we are actively involved in the UUMA2 programme in which Finnish authorities and industry players join forces to look for solutions on how to promote the use of recovered materials in earthworks and thus decrease the use of virgin materials and the environmental effects of earthworks.