Unusually hot summer boosted cooling requirement to record readings
In June-July, several temperature records were broken in Finland, which has also been reflected in the record-high demand for cooling. In Helsinki, the energy company Helen offers a cooling service, and in July the highest cooling demand ever was recorded at 160MW. Despite the heat, the cooled properties have allowed people to enjoy cool indoor temperatures.
Cooling is undergoing rapid growth and has been significantly affected by the hot summer. In normal hot weather, Helen's cooling consumption hovers around 100MW, so the record need of 160MW has been about 60% higher than in normal circumstances. In addition to the heat, the significantly high demand for cooling has also been affected by the fact that the number of customers using the cooling service is constantly growing. New, well-insulated buildings can also be warm in the summer heat, which increases the need for cooling.
Cooling service all over Helsinki
Helen's carbon-neutral cooling is no longer just the prerogative of the city centre, as cooling is available all over Helsinki. Outside the district cooling network, cooling is produced by means of a separate heat pump. The cooling service currently covers several hundred customers and a variety of properties, such as shopping centres, offices and residential properties all around Helsinki.
"We talk about property-specific cooling when it is produced outside the district cooling network. Both district cooling and property-specific cooling are reliable, carbon-neutral, easy, quiet and carefree. Their contract models are identical and the costs are similar," sums up Marko Kivimaa, head of Helen's Pricing and Sales Analysis group.
Pleasant indoor temperature increases comfort of properties
The need for cooling will increase further as the climate warms up. Not surprisingly, people appreciate reasonable indoor temperatures both at home and in public places: an appropriate indoor temperature improves air quality, and research has shown it to increase work productivity and comfort.
"Cooling is no longer a special rarity. People appreciate even conditions and cooled spaces both in their homes, workplaces and shopping centres," says Antti Tilamaa, Product Manager, Cooling at Helen.
Helen would also like to remind us that by our own actions we can all reduce the need for cooling on hot summer days, and thus help to save energy. For example, a simple way is to close the shades and blinds on the property’s windows both on weekdays and at weekends.
- Helsinki has the third-largest district cooling network in Europe.
- Most of Helen's cooling is produced at the Katri Vala Heating and Cooling Plant, which is one of the world's largest.
- Katri Vala's sixth heat pump is scheduled for completion during the summer of 2021 and the seventh during 2023. With the new pumps, Helen is preparing for the growth in demand for cooling.
- Helen offers district and property-specific cooling as a service, which reduces the customer's risks.
- With district and property-specific cooling, waste heat and other residual heat collected from properties is recycled and further processed by heat pumps into carbon-neutral district heat.
- In summertime, recycled heat is used particularly for heating domestic water for the residents of Helsinki.
Hot days in Finland – moving averages over past 30 years
Development of hot days (>+25C) in Finland from 1990 to 2021. Graphic created by Antti Tilamaa, Product Manager, Cooling at Helen, using data from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
* High temperature readings for 2021 reported only up to July.