10. Green Growth and Eco-innovation

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10. Green Growth and Eco-innovation

10A. Present Situation

1. Due to a strong strategic choice to provide an efficient waste sorting system to households and industries, the Lahti region has been a pioneer in waste management (Fig. A1). Waste sorting provides a basis for material utilization of different resources. There are several acknowledged industrial symbioses in the Lahti region (Figs. A2, A3).




Figure A1. The household waste sorting and management system in the Lahti region. Click to enlarge image.



Figure A2. Industrial symbioses in the Kujala Waste Centre area. Click to enlarge image.


Figure A3. Industrial symbioses of the brewing and bakery industry in the Lahti region. Click to enlarge image.

2. At the beginning of 2016, the City of Lahti launched a voluntary Climate Alliance agreement to encourage local companies to reduce their CO2 emissions. So far, 10 companies have signed the agreement. The process is especially targeted to smaller companies.

The Lahti University of Applied Sciences (LUAS) has developed a new circular economy training programme that incorporates all major educational programmes.

3. The Lahti Business Region has since 2006 hosted an annual investment event for Cleantech companies and investors, Cleantech Venture Day. In June 2018, the venue gathered participants from 18 different countries and hosted over 60 investors.

The new e-service, Energiavalinta.fi, creates customer potential for small-scale renewable energy production, by providing one-building scale energy data.

Lappeenranta University of Technology recently started a new master programmes in Lahti with a circular economy and sustainable business focus.

4. The City of Lahti has an ambitious Procurement Policy (2014-2020) stating that all municipal units should realize their role in creating new markets for innovative and sustainable products and services.

5. We use the Porukka mobile application for co-creation. By September 2018, over 235 000 responses have been gathered through this application.

“My Lahti” open innovation evenings are part of the city master planning process. The City of Lahti also has a special Neighbourhood Godparent model that encourages citizens to take responsibility at the local level.

Lahti City’s countryside, the Nastola area, has a special board for citizen participation with the ability to fund grassroot eco-innovative projects.

6. In early 2000, cleantech i.e. energy and material efficient production and design, was chosen as one of the three key strategic priority areas for Lahti region. The regional smart specialization strategy (EU RIS3) is not restricted to the transformation of the business environment, as it also influences the strategies of the regional higher-education schools: LUAS, HU and LUT (Fig. A4)].


The focus points of Lahti on regional EU-RIS3 strategy. Source: Regional Council of Päijät-Häme.

Figure A4. The focus points of Lahti on regional EU-RIS3 strategy. Source: Regional Council of Päijät-Häme.

7. The City Board of Lahti made a public announcement on 5 Sept. 2016 that by 2020 at least one third of the public procurements and investments will target projects that create new innovations in a circular economy. The Helsinki Metropolitan Smart & Clean Foundation is used as one of the co-creation platforms.
In 2018 the city conducted a survey of existing sharing services. The city decided to create a new platform, which allows citizens and employees to rent any kind of city-owned space. This will be opened in early 2019. Several other sharing economy services are also being considered.

Lahti city and the Lahti Applied Science University tested a centralized repairing logistics-service in 2017. Over 90% of customers reported satisfaction with it.

8. Liveability of a city is increased through:

• Well functioning waste management infrastructure and services
• New ecosystem services created by stormwater management projects.
• Eco-innovations of mobility (EU-UIA CitiCAP).

10B. Past Performance

Green Growth and Eco-innovation Initiatives

Since the early 1990s, Lahti region waste management policy has been very comprehensive and concretely aimed at reducing landfill waste [16]. The Lahti region development company LADEC, Päijät-Häme Waste Management and the City of Lahti participated in the Ecopol Project 2011-2014, funded by the EU CIP. During the Ecopol Project, several eco-innovation and eco-procurement recommendation papers were created.

Lahti has actively participated in the Finnish eco-procurement network led by Motiva. The network was established in 2002 by 9 cities. The Procurement Policy of Lahti City (2014-2020) received an honorary award in the Sustainable Public Procurement competition held by Motiva, in 2014 .

The Lake Vesijärvi long-term management project is one of the best-known environmental projects in Finland (Fig. B1). The formerly severely eutrophicated lake is today a well-known example of ecosystem restoration. The project has received funding from LIFE (Life for Lake Vesijärvi 1996-1998) and the national ERDF. Local citizens and companies are participating to sustain the life of Lake Vesijärvi.

Smart City initiatives are part of the smart specialization strategy of the Lahti region. LADEC has led several smart city initiatives targeting the international co-operation between Finnish and Chinese cities and companies. Currently, the City of Lahti and partners are implementing a personal carbon trading scheme as a practical smart city solution, an action funded by the EU Urban Innovative Actions programme (CitiCAP, 2018-2020).

The restoration of Lake Vesijärvi is a famous and powerful example of R&D based ecosystem restoration.

Figure B1. The restoration of Lake Vesijärvi is a famous and powerful example of R&D based ecosystem restoration.

Influence of EU and National Policies

The EU 2020 Strategy forms the backbone of national and local policies by incorporating smart, sustainable and inclusive growth into a single strategy. The aim is to integrate environmental, social and economic targets into the same action programme, which is made very clear in the new City Strategy of Lahti (Fig. B2).

Main environmental city actions and projects of Lahti City Strategy for council period 2017-2020.

Figure B2. Main environmental city actions and projects of Lahti City Strategy for council period 2017-2020.

Finland’s Energy and Climate Strategy was approved in 2013. The long-term goal (2050) for Finland is to be CO2-neutral. The City of Lahti is committed to cut CO2 emissions by 70%, from 1990 levels, by 2030. However we are currently tightening the climate mitigation targets in the SECAP process during 2018-2019. The new suggestion for CO2 reduction target is –70% from 1990 level by 2021 and carbon-neutrality by 2030. The progress is followed up by the EU Covenant of Mayors Climate & Energy agreement signed by the City of Lahti in 2017.

As an Energy Agreement Municipality, the City of Lahti develops its old and new premises with strategic goals for increasing energy efficiency.

The EU Circular Economy Package is an ambitious strategy that aims to close the loops of product lifecycle through enhanced recycling and re-use of materials and products. Finland’s waste law was renewed in 2011, to correspond with EU-goals of sustainable use of natural resources and prevent any harm being caused by waste. The Waste Management Policy of the Lahti region is in line with Finland’s national goals, but aims to enhance recycling of municipality waste faster than the national goals. The Finnish future fund, Sitra, published a national roadmap for a circular economy for 2016-2025. The roadmap highlights three cases from the Lahti region. Lahti was the first region in Finland (September 2017) to publish a regional circular economy roadmap.
Report Publications

Environmental accounting is performed annually as a part of the city financial statements. Environmental expenses, income and investment data are collected from the whole City Consortium organization.

The annually published Environmental Review contains roughly 30 environmental indicators. The energy efficiency improvement actions, related to the National Energy Agreement, are reported annually to Motiva.

Urban Structure Development

The master planning process is used as a strategic tool for sustainable city development. The City of Lahti has developed a continuous, four-year cycle, strategic master plan process (Fig. B3). Ongoing planning enables a strategic long-term view of urban development, while allowing adjustments for pressing development needs and short-term challenges, as predicting the future is challenging. Currently, the City of Lahti is incorporating the Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP, EU) into this strategic city master plan process.

Continuous master plan process of Lahti 2017-2020.

Figure B3. Continuous master plan process of Lahti 2017-2020.

Sustainability and a circular economy rational is incorporated into several urban planning and building projects:

• KEKO Planning Tool for Eco-efficient Urban Structure
The City of Lahti has used the national eco-efficiency planning tool, KEKO, to calculate the environmental impacts of different suggested plans for Lahti’s railway corridor area. The KEKO tool gives information on CO2 emissions, natural resource use and impacts on local nature, and allows several plans to be compared.

• Low Energy Houses of Lahden Talot, Case Lanssikatu Houses
Lahden talot, Lahti’s rental housing company, has built several energy efficient houses topped with other quality parameters, such as indoor air quality. The Lanssikatu houses were built in 2011-2012 and represent a smart energy design, where the energy comes from ground heat pumps and solar panels.

• Development of the Former Industrial Milieu of Niemi
Niemi is an industrial area where the University of Helsinki established its environmental ecology unit in the 1990s. Currently the Lahti University of Applied Sciences (LUAS) is relocating their campus in the Niemi area, which increases the need to combine different land-use types (industrial, educational, services, possibly housing) into this same area. The use of cleantech and circular economy products, as well as a user-oriented design approach are at the core of the LUAS campus plan.

• Energon Renewable Energy Research Centre
Energon provides opportunities for developing equipment that runs on liquid and gaseous fuels, as well as equipment suited for utilising solar energy, geothermal and air-source heat pump solutions and hybrid solutions (Fig. B4). The facilities and equipment are also well-suited for measuring flue-gas emissions. Energon's services are available to companies, universities, other institutions of higher education and research facilities - either in cooperation or individually. Energon is owned by Lahti’s development company, LADEC.

Energon offers unique facilities for versatile research into renewable energy and energy efficiency.

Figure B4. Energon offers unique facilities for versatile research into renewable energy and energy efficiency.

• Motorcycle Museum of Finland - Surprisingly Cleantech
The Motorcycle Museum of Finland in located is Lahti’s Niemi harbour area. The museum also demonstrates several local cleantech solutions, such as the Kemppi Ltd recharging facility and an Oilon ground heat pump.


The Lake Vesijärvi Project (1987-present) is the flagship for environmental innovation projects in the Lahti region. The long-term environmental management project has been successful in several ways: by allocating investment money for ecosystem restoration and Lahti harbour area development, founding a common ground for university research and private company interests in cleantech and creating momentum for citizens to participate in practical improvements of their surrounding environment (Fig. B5).

Artist Tiina Salmi (right) worked with school children during the Lake Vesijärvi Art Project in 2017.

Figure B5. Artist Tiina Salmi (right) worked with school children during the Lake Vesijärvi Art Project in 2017.

10C. Future Plans

Plans to Establish Eco-innovation Clusters, Strategies and Initiatives

Lahti City Strategy was completely renewed in 2018 (Fig. B2). The implementation of the strategy is carried out through a programme consisting of several projects and therefore it has been necessary to create a common and shared understanding of the transformation in target. The Environmental Programme of Lahti 2017-2030 has been chosen as one part of the larger strategy programme.

Building up reference environments for cleantech is a shared vision and strategy of the university departments (HU, LUAS, LUT), the City of Lahti and the neighbouring municipalities of Hollola and Orimattila. These partners developed a common competitiveness strategy for the urban region of Lahti 2016-2020.

Lahti is a member of the Smart & Clean Foundation (Fig. C1). The Smart & Clean puts into practice the aim of the Government of Finland and the Helsinki metropolitan cities and Lahti City to create a world renowned cleantech reference platform by 2020. The Smart & Clean initiative has several focus areas, but the City of Lahti aims to create an outstandingly diverse development platform within the circular economy and stormwater management topics.

The Helsinki Metropolitan Area together with Lahti aims to be the best testbed in the world for smart and clean solutions.

Figure C1. The Helsinki Metropolitan Area together with Lahti aims to be the best testbed in the world for smart and clean solutions.

2. Future Targets for Application of Eco-innovations

E-mobility and biogas both hold interesting potential for the future development of the city’s mobility environment. In 2016, there were 8 e-cars, out of the total stock of 100 cars used by the municipality (Fig. C2). During a special energy support scheme for e-cars in 2012-2016, it was possible to receive 30 % off of the e-car costs. It is highly likely that in the near future a greater share of the cars will be using locally produced biogas. However, at this time, there is no defined goal to increase the share, as the energy support systems are under national reconsideration.

E-cars have been used by Lahti elderly care services.

Figure C2. E-cars have been used by Lahti elderly care services.

The City of Lahti conducted a cost-benefit analysis of e-buses, hybrid buses and biogas buses. The e-buses and hybrids turned out to have the greatest potential for next-generation solutions, which will be taken into account in the next public transportation procurement in 2018.

The Lahti Energy Company is involved in the national coalition of energy companies, Virta Ltd, which aims to build a nation-wide charging point infrastructure. Public charging stations are now built into all larger public parking garages.

A new e-car sharing scheme is currently under development in the Hennala area, which is one of the fastest growing areas and belongs to the railway growth corridor.

A smart lighting project is under implementation in the harbour area (Fig. C3). The aim of the project is to create a practical test environment for smart lighting products and sensors.

Moreover, we are currently benchmarking smart bike-sharing concepts with the aim to create a sustainable test platform for these new service concepts.

Visualization of smart lighting on the pedestrian street in Lahti harbour.

Figure C3. Visualization of smart lighting on the pedestrian street in Lahti harbour.

Innovation and Green Business Networks

National and international sustainability networks are very important for the development of Lahti. The sustainable city network of Lahti has several focus areas (Fig. C4).

International city networks supporting the sustainable development of Lahti.

Figure C4. International city networks supporting the sustainable development of Lahti.

Cleantech Venture Day is an international clean technology event, which gathers investors and companies from all continents. The event was created by the predecessor of the Lahti Development Company, LADEC.

Programmes Promoting Green Economy

The City of Lahti is committed to the long-term sustainability goals of the Finnish Sustainable Communities [39] of becoming carbon-free with zero-waste and having sustainable consumption by 2050. The new Environmental Programme of Lahti 2018-2030 has a strong focus on these long-term sustainability goals [46]. Several participatory tools are being used to reach out to businesses and residents [7-11].

Future Flagship Project: My Carbon Neutral Life 2021

As part of the preparation for EGCA2021 Action and Communications Plan, City of Lahti is planning future flagship project called “My Carbon Neutral Life 2021”. We aim to invite 1000 residents from Lahti and other EGC Network cities for a carbon-neutral lifestyle trial during the year 2021 (Fig. C5). My Carbon Neutral Life 2021 project would be a large city-scale demonstration of carbon-neutrality and how it affects on everyday life of European people. Scientific community would support the project by producing necessary information on carbon-neutral lifestyle choices. We would also set an international open call for private and NGO partnerships in order to create an interesting testbed for services and solutions that are needed to bring the carbon-neutrality into reality.

Figure C5. Citizens would be invited to take part in My Carbon Neutral Life 2021 project that would provide differential new tools and services for realizing the target.





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