News / 28.4.2015

Helen receives the Oscar of the energy sector

Helen Ltd’s combined district heating and cooling solution has won the esteemed Global District Energy Climate Award. The award ceremony was held in Tallinn, Estonia on 27 April 2015.

Helen was awarded in the category ‘Expansion’, expansion of district heating and cooling systems. The award panel was particularly impressed by Helen’s energy-efficient solutions that utilise the densely-built urban structure to maximise energy efficiency. District cooling improves the residents’ quality of life and also enables large-scale utilisation of waste energy and solar-sourced energy.

Properties in Helsinki act as giant solar collectors

The district cooling system in Helsinki is the third largest in Europe, and it is expanding at the most rapid pace. Helsinki is the only city where almost all waste heat from cooled properties is extensively utilised with a solution that combines district cooling and heating.

A new record was set in Helsinki in summer 2014 when the amount of heat captured from solar-heated properties over the course of one day corresponded to half of the district heat production at the time. Hot tap water used by 250,000 people at the time was produced with heat generated by the sun. Producing this amount of heat would have needed 20 hectares of solar collectors.

– This is a great recognition not only for our professional experts, but also for Finnish engineering expertise in general. Finland is a clear forerunner in efficient energy production and utilisation of waste energies especially in urban conditions. This acknowledgement also encourages us to continue our strong investment in development work. In future, we will introduce an increasing amount of renewable energy and develop new services for our customers, promises Marko Riipinen, Director of Helen’s district heating and cooling business.   Helen has received international acknowledgement also previously. The company won the Global District Energy Award also in 2013, 2011 and 2009.


The awarded solution: combined generation of electricity, district heat and district cooling

• In Helsinki, district heat is mainly produced in energy-efficient cogeneration where the heat produced in power generation is utilised as district heat.

• The efficiency rate of CHP plants located in Helsinki is among the best in the world, over 90 per cent.

• In condensing power plants, which are common throughout the world, the heat produced in electricity generation is released into the sea or air and the efficiency rate remains below 40 per cent.

• The integrated production of electricity, heat and cooling utilises as energy sources, e.g. the cold of sea water, the heat of waste water and the surplus heat of the sun, people and machines created in properties. o Located under the Katri Vala Park in Helsinki, the world’s largest heating and cooling plant produces heat and cooling in a single process, utilising waste and sea water. o Eighty per cent of Helen’s district cooling is produced with energy sources that would otherwise be unutilised.

• Energy storage is an essential part of the system.  

- To balance consumption peaks and to maximise energy efficiency, we have installed large heat accumulators in connection with the power plants.

- Finland’s largest district cooling accumulator is located under the Esplanade Park at a depth of 100 metres. The amount of water in the cooling storage facility, 38,500 m3, corresponds to the amount of water in an average-sized lake. The volume of the Pasila cold accumulator is 11,500 m3.

• On a hot summer’s day in Helsinki, it is possible to recover the amount of solar heat which would need 30 football pitches full of solar collectors (about 20 hectares).  

District heating and district cooling solutions from all over the world took part in the International District Energy Climate Awards. The competition was organised by the energy expert organisation Euroheat & Power in co-operation with the International Energy Agency IEA.