1. Climate Change: Mitigation

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1. Climate Change: Mitigation

1A. Present Situation

Present situation

Effective Measures on CO2 Emissions

In 2015, 717 100 tonnes of CO2e were produced directly and indirectly from energy, traffic, machines, waste and wastewater processing, as well as industrial and agricultural production processes. This is 30% lower compared to 1990 levels, when greenhouse gas
emissions were over one million tonnes per year (Fig. A1). The population has grown by 11.6%, but emissions, per inhabitant, decreased by 37,2% (Fig.A1).

GHG emissions

Figure A1. Greenhouse gas emissions in Lahti, total and per inhabitant.

Emissions have dropped, especially in centralized energy production, due to lessened use of fossil fuels in the combined production of district heating and electricity.

Lahti city area CO2 emissions (Scope 1, 2, 3) are calculated every second year, using the national KASVENER model and are monitored through coarser CO2 reports, provided by Benviroc Ltd.

Total Emissions by Sector

By far, the largest amount of emissions came from district heating, both in 1990 (56% of total emissions) and in 2015 (56% of total emissions) (Fig. A2 and A3). A significant part of electricity used in the Lahti area is produced together with district heating. The advantage of combined heat and electricity production is high fuel efficiency. At its best, combined production enables over 90% of energy, stored in the fuel, to be used. Investments in power plants, over the past few years, have made it possible to use more renewable energy sources and waste-derived fuels in Lahti Energy Ltd power plants. It is mainly due to this that total emissions, from centralized energy production, have decreased by about 30%, over the past 25 years.

Since the beginning of the 1990s recession, industrial production has decreased rapidly. Industrial process emissions have been small throughout the entire period (no polluting industry). Primarily, we have businesses of in mechatronics, wood products, food and plastic (small and medium-sized companies). The only facility that takes part in the emission trading process is the Kymijärvi power plant, owned by Lahti Energy. Additionally, industrial plant energy production has decreased rapidly, with more and more industries, instead, purchasing their energy from Lahti Energy. At the same time, energy production, related to industrial processes, has increased significantly, although its share of emissions is only 3.5%. This indicates that industrial waste heat recovery has become more effective.

Emissions from the separate heating of buildings have stayed the same. Hence, its share of total emissions has grown only slightly (from 4.5% to 6.3%). The second largest emission source in Lahti is traffic. Emissions from traffic have increased over 17%. Also, total emission shares increased considerably. Now, its share is about one fourth of the total emissions, while it was about 15% in 1990 (Fig. A2 and A3). A significant part of these emissions comes from bypassing traffic (on main roads 12 and 4). The total emission share from waste management, in 1990, was about 6%. Emissions have been nearly halved, and the share of total emissions is, now, clearly less than 5%. A high per cent of these emissions comes from old landfill sites that produce methane, although the recovery of methane has been enhanced.

The total greenhouse gas emissions produced from consumption was 873.2 kt CO2e in 2015. The difference (717.1 kt) is nearly exclusively caused by the fact that about a third of the energy used in Lahti is purchased from the national grid.

Greenhouse gases by sector

Figure A2.Total greenhouse gas emissions by sector in 1990 (1023.9 kt). Calculated with the KASVENER model.


Greenhouse gases by sector

Figure A3. Total greenhouse gas emissions by sector in 2015 (717.1 kt). Calculated with the KASVENER model.

1B. Past Performance

The City of Lahti was one of the first cities in Finland setting an ambitious climate change mitigation target as part of their City Strategy 2009-2012. The Mayor of Lahti, Mr. Jyrki Myllyvirta, has also signed the Covenant of Mayors agreement, in 2012. The Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP, CoM) set a goal of reducing greenhouse gases by at least 35% per inhabitant, by the year 2020, compared to the emission levels in 1990.

Centralized Energy Production

Lahti Energy has invested in energy efficient and sustainable district heating. The district heating network is extensive, with over 90% of the population using district heating as their heating resource. Over 95% of district heating is produced, energy efficiently, at the combined Kymijärvi I-II heat and power plants. Kymijärvi power plant II started operating in 2012 (Fig. B1). It is a unique gasification power plant that uses solid recovered fuel (SRF). The net efficacy of gasification appears to be better compared to some forms of combustion , which emphasizes that gasification represents the BAT of much-argued energy-utilization of waste. However, the City of Lahti is currently undergoing a complete change in centralized energy production, by replacing the old Kymijärvi I power plant with the new Kymijärvi III plant, by 2020.

Kymijärvi II power plant

Figure B1. Kymijärvi II CHP uses SRF as primary fuel source.

Lahti Premises

In 2008, the City of Lahti signed the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s National Energy Efficiency Agreement 2008-2016 (KETS), which was drafted to implement the Energy Efficiency Directive. The aim was to achieve energy savings of 9%, over the 2008-2016 period (15.99 GWh), by increasing the energy efficiency of water and wastewater treatment of Lahti Premises and street lightning. This goal was met by 2016 and the city managed to save 18.87 GWh energy. The City of Lahti signed a new Energy Efficiency Agreement 2017-2025, in April 2017, targeting a further 7% energy saving, by 2025 (from the 2017 level).

Lahti Premises’ energy consumption (electricity + heat) decreased from about 70 kWh/m2 to about 57 kWh/m2, between 2000 and 2014. Lahti Premises had managed to save 8 949 MWh of energy by the end of 2016, which was 34% greater than targeted. In 2015, Lahti Premises signed an ESCO (Energy Saving Company) contract with Siemens Ltd (Fig. B2 and B3). The contract includes energy efficiency investments in ten large real estates owned by the city. The target is to save about 6 GWh (about 3%) from the total energy consumption. Part of the ESCO project includes building a solar power plant in the Lahti Winter Sport Arena (Fig. B3) that can be real-time monitored through the Solar Edge system.

Lahti City hall

Figure B2.The over 100-year-old City hall is one of the premises included in the ESCO contract.

Solar energy power plant of the Lahti Winter Sport Arena

Figure B3. The solar energy power plant of the Lahti Winter Sport Arena was built under the ESCO project in 2017.

Greenest Offices in Finland

In 2011, the City of Lahti was the first whole city organization worldwide to join the WWF Green Office environmental management system on a city-wide scope. Green Office has been created by WWF Finland and it has already been adopted by several organizations, globally. In addition to increasing environmental knowledge, energy efficiency, a climate-neutral working culture and office policies are also enhanced within our departments.

Cyclic Master Plan Is a Unique Tool

Climate issues are carefully considered when master planning. The City of Lahti has developed a continuous, strategic master plan process, with four-year cycles. This enables a long-term view of urban development, while allowing adjustments for pressing development needs and challenges, including climate change.

Lahti is participating in the national KEKO B project. A regional evaluation tool for eco-efficiency, KEKO, was developed by researchers at the Finnish Environment Institute. Additionally, the project aims to develop a tool for evaluating and comparing greenhouse gas emissions.

Affecting consumption habits of residents is the most cost efficient and trickiest way to reduce emissions. We have a counselling unit to educate residents on climate, environment, energy and waste issues. Annually, over 10 000 residents are met, on different occasions, around the municipality.

Reducing Emissions of Waste Management

About half of methane emissions, generated in the Lahti region, are collected by the Kujala Waste Center’s (Fig. B4) landfill gas collecting system. The system has been in use since 2002. Most of the collected gas is used in the nearby Hartwall Ltd factory and the rest of the gas is used for energy and heat production in Päijät-Häme Waste Ltd (PHJ).

The LABIO biogas production plant started operating in 2014 (17 M€). Biogas is produced from bio waste and sewage sludge from Lahti Aqua. After digestion, the mass goes for composting and turns into soil. Its capacity is 80 000 tons of bio waste per year and biogas production up to 50 GWh (9 million m3) per year. Biogas is also formed in Lahti Aqua wastewater treatment plants. Two thirds of heat produced by biogas is used for heating the wastewater treatment plant and the rest is sold to the Lahti Energy district heating network.

The mechanical sorting facility, LATE, was built in the Kujala Waste Center, in 2016. Now PHJ aims to recycle 50% of the generated municipal waste.

Kujala Waste Center

Figure B4. Industrial symbioses in the Kujala Waste Center (e.g. LABIO biogas production plant, mechanical sorting facility, LATE).

Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP)

SEAP targets reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 35%, per inhabitant, by 2020 compared to 1990. This was already accomplished in 2015. Currently, some of the 42 planned actions have already been completed and most of the other measures are in the process of doing so.

SEAP requires actions, not only from the City of Lahti, but also from the entire Lahti City Group and others. Actions are divided into nine groups: land use and city planning, traffic, National Energy Efficiency Agreement, buildings and construction, other energy uses, energy production, procurement, waste and wastewaters and resource efficiency.

Other Projects and Action Plans

  • Regional Climate Action Plan 2009-2015 together with the municipalities of Hollola and Nastola.
  • Long-term climate co-operation with our Nordic twin cities Akureyri, Randers, Västerås and Ålesund. We signed the Nordic climate declaration in Ålesund, in 2007.
  • Green City Program 2011-2014 aimed developing Lahti into a city of sustainability, and a forerunner in climate issues.
  • Climate Proof City (ILKKA project) (ended in 2014) promoted climate-efficient city planning and created new planning tools and instructions for city planners, and building and gardening companies, to consider climate change in planning.
  • In 2009-2012, the project “Local Actions to Control the Climate Change” clarified and chose the best measures to control climate change in Lahti.
  • Energiavisio 2025+ project (2014-2016) aimed to develop good emission reduction targets for years 2030 and 2050. This will be adopted as a part of Strategy 2017-2021.
  • energiavalinta.fi, is a platform for property owners and residents. The service uses different open data sources (e.g. age and energy efficiency of buildings) and maps (e.g. geothermal energy potential and solar radiation maps). The e-service helps one to compare several different sustainable energy solutions.
  • 2010-2017 Consumers’ energy counselling project in Päijät-Häme: energy counselling targeted residents in the Lahti region. Budget 77 000 euros for 2014-2015, then 25 000 €/a for the next five years.
  • In 2016, we joined the Finnish Sustainable Communities Network (FISU) and committed to working towards becoming carbon neutral, waste-free and curbing over-consumption by 2050.
  • In 2015, Lahti was awarded in the WWF Earth Hour City Challenge. Lahti was the Finnish winner that year, and among the 16 best worldwide. The evaluators appreciated the made energy investments. We had unusually large-scale actions for a small city.
  • Lahti Houses utilized the Munifin Green Bond Funding Scheme for low-carbon housing in 2017.


1C. Future Plans

New Climate Change Mitigation Target 2030 under Process

Currently, the City of Lahti is updating city strategy with a proposal for an even more ambitious CO2 reduction target: CO2 emissions -70 % by 2030, compared to 1990 levels. The Climate Action Roadmap, for 2030, is further described in the Environmental Program of Lahti, agreed upon, via the same process as the City master plan and SUMP goals, by December 2017. This work is based on different climate change scenarios for Lahti 2040 (Fig. C1-C3), which show that significant carbon-emission reductions are possible to perform, despite economic development trends.

 Predicted emissions in scenario A

Figure C1. Predicted emissions in scenario A “Business as usual” (1000 tonnes CO2e per year).

Predicted emissions in scenario B

Figure C2. Predicted emissions in scenario B “Regressive Lahti” (1000 tonnes CO2e per year).

Predicted emissions in scenario C

Figure C3.Predicted emissions in Scenario C “Forerunner in technology” (1000 tonnes CO2e per year).

Energy Investments in Renewable District Heating 2017-2020

Lahti Energy Ltd. and the City Council have decided that a new biofuel power plant, Kymijärvi III, will be built in Lahti, which should be operational by 2020. In 2015, 42.65% of district heating was generated from renewable sources and, with the new biofuel power plant, this will rise to 80%. The investment will cost 150 M€. The old coal-operated power plant, Kymijärvi I, will then close. Also, a large energy storage tank will be built to cope with energy consumption peaks. This will be the second such storage tank in Lahti. The new power plant will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions considerably, as district heating will be more sustainable.

Special Focus on Traffic Emissions and Sustainable Urban Mobility

Our future challenge is to stop the increase of traffic emissions. We also need a continuous, fast reduction in traffic emissions. Special emphasis will now be placed on integrating the sustainable mobility plan (SUMP) into the City’s spatial master plan 2017-2020, which creates the analytic city-wide framework for cutting CO2 emissions from the traffic sector, e.g. by: 1) improving the bicycle infrastructure, 2) finding smarter and low-carbon solutions for public transportation in a city with 120 000 residents and 3) increasing the pedestrian-friendly spaces in the urban cores of Lahti (Fig. C4).

Urban mobility

Figure C4.Sustainable urban mobility will be a major focal point for the City of Lahti 2017-2020. 

National and International Networks

In 2016, Lahti joined the Finnish Sustainable Communities Network. We will strive to be carbon neutral and waste-free, and to curb overconsumption by 2050. Many co-creation methods and participatory events and tools will be applied to further collect ideas for the implementation of these vast plans (Fig. C5).

Co-creation process of the Lahti City Pland and SUMP

Figure C5. Co-creation process of the Lahti City Plan and SUMP 2017-2020.

The City of Lahti actively participates in the Union of Baltic Cities (UBC), with a special focus on the Sustainable Cities Commission (SCC). The Environmental Director of Lahti functions as a climate change expert on the Advisory Board of SCC-UBC.

We will soon launch a new co-operation project with St. Petersburg, Helsinki and Mikkeli on climate change water-related issues. Cleantech is a major co-operation area of Lahti with, e.g. Japan and China. The special investment event and model Cleantech Venture Day, that was created in Lahti in early 2000, will be exported to London next, and then most probably to Kioto.

Upcoming Projects and Measures

  • ESCO – A project together with Siemens Ltd. Saving approximately 6 GWh, which is more than 3% of the total energy consumption (10 years).
  • 2015- continues: Climate Partnerships with companies and organizations. The City of Lahti challenges companies to lower their CO2 emissions in cooperation with the Lahti University of Applied Sciences and a development company, Ladec. After surveying a company’s current emissions, the company makes climate commitments and receives a diploma from the Mayor. Also, joining the Cleantech Finland network is encouraged.
  • 2015-2018 Lahti Energy company will invest 20 M€ in wind power (Fig. C1). The wind turbines in question will be located mainly on the west coast of Finland.
  • 2016 Lahti City Group target: the share of certified green electricity should be 10% by the end of 2020.
  • Lahti will continue in the Energy Efficiency Agreement in the next period of 2017-2025. The aim is to lower energy consumption by 7%, in the new period.
  • A preliminary decision has been made by the City of Lahti that, in the long term, public transport buses will be changed to electric buses. In other logistics, the use of biogas cars will be enhanced.

Lahti Premises:

  • Our goal is to use public building space more efficiently. This has the greatest energy savings potential, but it also faces some implementation difficulties.
  • Consumption will be monitored even more efficiently.
  • Remote reading of heat and electricity, and hourly measurements in most premises. An alarm function to indicate changes in values.
  • All new buildings, constructed by the Lahti City Concern, will be low- or zero-energy houses. The same principle will apply in retrofitting, whenever possible. New funding schemes, such as Munifin Green Bond, will be used.


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