We improve our energy efficiency and save the environment
We minimise the 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. In the production of the products and services we offer to our customers, we strive for the highest possible energy and material efficiency.
Our most energy-consuming operations are asphalt production and construction sites. In 2015, we started using a certified energy efficiency monitoring system in Finland to comply with the energy efficiency law. We have taken measures required by the energy efficiency legislation in our other operating countries too.
In 2016, our target is to develop the monitoring and reporting of energy consumption in all of our operating countries. Our long-term goal is to expand the energy efficiency monitoring system to all operating countries and improve energy efficiency by unifying our operation models.
Our mineral aggregates and paving operations require permits. In 2015, our operations in all operating countries were granted 21 new mineral aggregates permits, 19 environmental permits and 24 registrations of asphalt plants.
Country-specific laws and requirements define those projects that require a separate environmental impact assessment (EIA). We launched one EIA project during the reporting year.
We made environmental investments of approximately EUR 750,000. Investments were mainly associated with equipment and machinery purchases for the production of recycled asphalt and low-temperature asphalt, for example.
We develop environmentally friendly paving
Most of our environmental footprint comes from our own production, especially our paving and mineral aggregates business. In these sectors, we strive to develope environmentally friendly products and operating methods.
The use of recycled asphalt is constantly increasing in all of our operating countries. We turn recycled asphalt into reclaimed asphalt. Old asphalt pavement can be completely utilised in the production of new asphalt. During 2015, we increased the use of reclaimed asphalt about 5%. The use of recycled asphalt reduces the overall emissions by reducing both material and transport volumes.
In addition, we produced a significant amount of low-temperature asphalt. Low-temperature asphalt is produced at a substantially lower temperature than normal asphalt, and thus reduces fuel consumption, emissions and odour pollution. Gas emissions generated by energy consumption in production are halved when the temperature is brought down by 15 degrees Celsius.
We have a paving laboratory in each of our operating countries. In Finland, our laboratories in Tuusula and in Oulu are the only officially accredited asphalt industry laboratories.
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 to reduce 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 that the sites have on 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 be turned into construction areas if needed. Mineral aggregate quarrying sites may be zoned for residential or recreational use, in which case the quarrying needed for construction has already been carried out as part of mineral aggregate operations.
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.
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 in the binder, material that would otherwise be, otherwise transported to a landfill site, reduces energy consumption and the environmental impact of construction. We are currently carrying out mass stabilisation in Finland, Sweden and Estonia.
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.
We are developing the entire industry in active cooperation with the authorities and other industry players. For example, in 2015, we were actively involved in the Finnish 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.
Towards zero energy level in new construction
We comply with regulations defined in legislation for the energy efficiency of new buildings. In 2020, all new buildings in EU countries must have a zero energy rating. We continue to prepare for this new requirement. All public buildings must have a zero energy rating already in 2018.
For example, many property investors require their commercial properties to be very energy efficient and executed in a manner that allows them to obtain a general construction industry environmental certification, such as BREEAM or LEED. We consider these requirements already during design management.
In 2015, we were building two sites in Helsinki that meet the requirements of the LEED environmental certification: the Ilmalanrinne office building, with Sponda as the customer, and Etera’s office building. In northern Finland, ongoing construction projects that aim for the LEED certification include a school campus and a care facility, both built of timber and located in Pudasjärvi, and the Hiukkavaara community centre in Oulu.
In addition, in collaboration with Skanska we are currently building a logistics centre for S Group in Sipoo, in the Helsinki metropolitan area, and applying for a BREEAM environmental certificate for it. The certificate is awarded for above-the-norm performance in energy efficiency and the minimisation of the environmental impact of a building.