2017 was an unusual year for the Lahti Procurement services, as the Social and Welfare services were entered into the Consolidated Welfare Municipalities, together with all but two employees in procurement. This was challenging e.g. for follow-up. The environmental criteria practices vary by sector and procurement type.
The procurement of the City of Lahti’s recycled asphalt was awarded the Innovative Procurement Award in 2017. Another great example is the Lahti Premises department, which frequently use environmental criteria as a basis for scoring in procurement. Product category-specific environmental guidance concerning product procurement is provided through the Procurement services extranet.
The Päijät-Häme Catering Services promoted sustainable development: The demand for environmentally friendly choices has been increased by offering more vegetables to the clients. With the Taste Alphabet diploma, more vegetables have been offered to children in kindergartens. Similarly, the School Meal diploma has focused on the plate model and on increasing the amount of vegetables served as part of school meals. Schools offer a vegetarian meal option every day, and it has increased in popularity relative to the number of children eating a school lunch. During the week of All Saints’ Day 2017, vegetable tasters and taste recognition competitions were arranged.
Changes in higher education and research of environmental issues
Student intake in higher education institutions and degree requirements have changed, and there no longer is a number of students admitted specifically in Lahti.
Regional group of environmental experts have been operating actively from beginning of 2017. The group includes experts from the University of Helsinki, Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lahti University of Applied Sciences, City of Lahti and Lahti Region development (LADEC). The group promotes Lahti’s objectives in acquiring circular economy references for the city, and for Lahti to develop into a circular economy city.
The merging of Lahti University of Applied Sciences and Lappeenranta University of Technology was prepared and decided on in 2017, and the merge was realized in 2018.
Lappeenranta University of Technology made new proposals for teaching in Lahti: four Masters’ programs were planned in 2017, one of which was a graduate engineering program in circular economy. Teaching for the new programs commences in Fall 2018. The focal areas of LUT Lahti’s research include innovation research, entrepreneurship research, research related to performance management and sustainability research. LUT is also involved in the CitiCAP project launched in 2017, which aims to encourage residents to move more sustainably, reduce traffic emissions, compile and share digital resources on transportation as well as develop new transportation services for the residents.
Lahti University of Applied Sciences focuses on circular economy solutions, among other areas of research. Lahti University of Applied Sciences also is part of the CitiCAP project.
The key research branches of the University of Helsinki in Lahti include water system and soil ecology, urban ecosystem research, environmental microbiology, biotechnology, ecotoxicology and environmental chemistry. The circular economy has become a highly relevant theme. Related training is included in the BSc degree program in environmental science as well as in various MSc programs, primarily those in environmental change and global sustainability.
Environmental maintenance training at the Education Centre Salpaus focuses on the maintenance, repair and condition assessment of various types of urban environments. Students can choose between pathways on repair operations, waste management, water maintenance operations or environmental communication and counselling. The Asikkala facility at Salpaus has been awarded a sustainable development certificate. The renewal audit for the certificate was approved in 2017 for the next three years. Focusing on environmental training, a sustainable development workgroup has been created, deciding on sustainable development actions to be taken in accordance with the certificate. Indicators include e.g. electricity and water consumption as well as the volume of biowaste produced. These issues are brought up in the training.
The new build project (7,900 m2) by the consolidated municipality of Salpaus on Vipusenkatu has received Green Municipal Funding. The project has taken into account the new build’s energy efficiency and green values. The site has a geothermal heating system, the rest of the energy required will be produced by solar panels and peak consumption covered by district heating. The structural planning has implemented insulation that improves energy efficiency and provides insulation results that exceed the minimum requirements. The build’s technology and technical facilities are used as a learning environment for environmentally friendly technology in the Education Centre Salpaus’ heating, plumbing, air conditioning and automation training.
The Päijät-Häme LUMA center operating on the University of Lahti campus implemented Science Up Your Summer camps for elementary school students in Lahti and Riihimäki in Summer 2017. Together with the Lahti University of Applied Sciences, a Mobile Coding camp was organized for 10 to 16-year-olds in Lahti. The Päijät-Häme LUMA center also participated in organizing e.g. the Science2 upper secondary school course focusing on water system preservation together with Lahti upper secondary education, the Lahti Region Development LADEC and upper secondary schools in St Petersburg. In Fall 2017, LUMA activities received their own facilities, as the science classroom SOLU, consisting of a laboratory and a rec room, was completed on the Niemi campus. All the club and camp activities are now centered there.
The StarT project supporting phenomenological and multidisciplinary learning was also implemented in Päijät-Häme. StarT project works created by learning teams were presented and the best were awarded in April at the Kanta-Häme and Päijät-Häme joint regional festival at the Lahti Sibeliustalo. The City of Lahti was awarded as Finland’s most active StarT municipality in 2017. The training events Mathematics of the Origami and Astronomy in Teaching Mathematics supported the professional development of teachers.
Lahti features an active cleantech cluster. Cleantech covers water management and wastewater processing, waste management and recycling, renewable energy, energy efficiency, clean processes, materials and products, consultation and counselling as well as green construction. In 2015, the clean technology sector employed approximately 4,900 people and had a total revenue of EUR 1.58 billion. An innovation developed in Lahti in 2006, the Cleantech Venture Day bringing together investors and cleantech businesses was held again in 2017. This time the event took place in London, in collaboration with Cambridge Cleantech. The investment event was a success and had participants from all over the world. In 2018 the event will return to Lahti.
Into Cleantech Cluster are now classifyed Water and Sewege treatment, Waste management and Recycling, Renewable energy, Energy effiency, Clean processes and materials and products, Environmental consulting and Green building.
Future plans and challenges:
• Implementation of the strategic procurement program.
• Raising corporate environmental awareness and working for the climate.
• Improving business opportunities for the cleantech sector in Lahti, prominent references and internationalization.
• Municipal co-operation without a common organization for environmental protection.