News / 17.2.2020

Korkeasaari now heated with zero emissions - Helen’s Recycled Heat reduces climate load by the equivalent of driving 5 million kilometres a year

From now on, Korkeasaari Zoo will be heated by Helen’s Recycled Heat, which is a totally emission-free form of heat production recycled from waste heat. On swapping to Helen's carbon-neutral district heating, the annual 617-tonne carbon emissions created by heating Korkeasaari will fall to zero. The figure is equivalent to the annual emissions of almost 400 cars, i.e. driving about five million kilometres.

Helen and Korkeasaari have a shared target of carbon neutrality. Helen aims to reach carbon neutrality by the year 2035 and Korkeasaari by 2030.

“Helen is a pioneering company in the Finnish energy field and the only one in the country to offer fully recycled waste heat. It is particularly fitting that Korkeasaari, which proactively disseminates environmental awareness, is one of the first organisations to embrace the possibilities of the new energy era in our shared quest for a carbon-neutral Helsinki,” says Anssi Juvonen, Helen's Product Group Manager for heating and cooling products.

“The mission of our environmental programme is that we practise what we preach. While we endeavour to influence people's environmentally friendly behaviour and thinking, we ourselves are also duty-bound to act in accordance with the same principles. The solution was easy in the case of heating, as we were able to turn our heating carbon-neutral with a single decision,” says Sanna Hellström, the Director at Korkeasaari Zoo.

All Helen’s Recycled Heat is produced from waste heat created as a by-product of operations in places like server rooms, electricity substations, waste water treatment plants, data centres, district cooling of buildings, and various industrial processes. Helen recovers the heat and pipes it via the cooling network to the heating and cooling plants beneath the Katri Vala and Esplanade parks. Large heat pumps operated by certified hydroelectricity process the heat into Recycled Heat and feed it into the district heating network. The share of Recycled Heat of all district heat produced by Helen has already reached about 10 per cent.


Korkeasaari's heating requirement, now fulfilled purely by district heat produced from waste heat, is about 4,000 MWh a year, which is equivalent to the heat requirement of seven Helsinki apartment blocks. The most heat at Korkeasaari Zoo is required by Africasia, Amazonia and Hämärä House, housing animals and plants from tropical regions. However, the warmest space in the area is the insect breeding room where nutritious live insects are bred to feed the animals.

“In Amazonia, Africasia and Hämärä House the temperature is mostly kept at 19–24 degrees at this time of the year. In addition, many animals requiring warm conditions, such as tortoises, reptiles and frogs, are provided with heat lamps under which they can bask if they wish – as an example, the temperature under the red-footed tortoises' heat lamp is a little above 30 degrees. The animals in Monkey Castle and Cat Valley, as well as e.g. kangaroos, emus and peacocks have heated indoor quarters, but these species also have free access to the outdoors,” Hellström explains.

The species that enjoy the lowest temperatures spend their time outdoors all the year round and have no heated indoor housing. At Korkeasaari, the large species living in outdoor enclosures are selected so that they cope outdoors in the Finnish climate also in wintertime. For example, the Korpi wilderness area for Finnish animals has no heating for any of the species, neither has Bear Castle. The musk ox has the longest fur in the animal kingdom and can cope with the coldest conditions; it even survived the Ice Age.

 FACTS: Heat from waste

  • Combustion-free Recycled Heat is emissions-free heat
  • Recycled heat is 100 per cent recycled and reprocessed waste heat
  • Sources for Recycled Heat include server rooms, waste water, electricity substations and industrial processes
  • Waste heat is reprocessed in heating and cooling plants using renewable electricity
  • Its deployment requires no investments in equipment

Korkeasaari has joined Helen's journey towards a carbon-neutral future. See the video!

Read more about the topic