News / 24.10.2014

Sakarinmäki School now heated with renewable energy

Helsingin Energia has designed and installed the Sakarinmäki School Centre heating system, running on renewable energy, as a pilot project. From the beginning, the school’s pupils and teachers were included to provide ideas on how energy issues might be made a visible part of the school’s daily life and curriculum. 

The renewable energy -based heating solution was deployed at the Sakarinmäki School Centre at the beginning of term this autumn. More than 80 per cent of the energy used by Sakarinmäki School is now produced with renewable energy. The heating solution is a combination of geothermal heat, solar heat, a heating plant, and heat storage.

In the early summer, 16 large solar thermal collectors with a total area of 160 square metres were installed at Sakarinmäki School.  In addition, 21 geothermal wells reaching a depth of 300 metres were drilled beneath the school’s sandy playgrounds.  When geothermal heat and solar heat are not sufficient to cover consumption, in practice during winter frosts, the school heating is supplemented by the heating plant. It produces energy mainly from bio-oil.

“ Sakarinmäki is a pilot project for Helsingin Energia to test new kinds of energy solutions. Construction of the Sakarinmäki School Centre energy system is the first step of a larger trial in Östersundom,” says Director Marko Riipinen from Helsingin Energia. 

Energy included in teaching

Helsingin Energia has organised several workshops for the school’s students and teachers to generate ideas on how energy issues might be included in the curriculum and how heat production could be illustrated in a way that is easy to understand.

Helsingin Energia installed screens in the school entrance hall, showing production information for the renewable energy –based heating system. The screens allow students and teachers to monitor in real time, how much energy is obtained from geothermal heat, solar collectors and the heating plant, and what it means, for example converted to warm showers.

“I am very pleased that we have the opportunity of serving as a pilot school for renewable energy. Both the students and staff have embraced the issue with enthusiasm, and our understanding of renewable energy and sustainable development has increased,” says the headmistress, Kaisa Alanne.

“We have access to the school’s heat production info not just daily, but also on a monthly level, and we can use it in teaching. For example, in Finnish lessons we can think about what the terms related to energy mean, while in maths and physics we can calculate and draw up statistics on energy generation.  We also get to draw conclusions, when thinking about changes taking place in heat production in ways appropriate to the children’s age groups,” Alanne goes on.

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