The carbon footprint of buildings and facilities reduced through renewable energy and building automation

12.09.2020

Levi Ski Resort has been using geothermal energy and surplus heat to warm indoor spaces for a long time now. The resort uses surplus heat generated by, for example, snow gun compressors by transferring it to the geothermal pipeline and thus supplementing geothermal energy use.

We asked Antti Rauhala, Property Manager at Levi Ski Resort, how the energy efficiency of Levi properties has developed over the years to where it is now. We also discussed the next steps in development.

–  We have been investing into the development of energy efficiency of our properties for a long time, just as we develop all the areas of our environmental work. Property heating, air conditioning and other building services play a significant role in shaping the carbon footprint of any business. For us, properties account for about 30 percent of all electricity consumption, Antti Rauhala tells us.

– Due to our long-term environmental efforts, we became the first ski resort in the Nordic countries to earn the ISO 14 001 environmental certificate. The certificate obliges us to keep on developing our operations, based on the principle of continuous development. The standard requires concrete actions; promises are not enough, Antti adds.

 

NEXT: THE GONDOLA BUILDING

In the construction of new properties at Levi Ski Resort, the principle is that they should all be able to utilise renewable energy as much as possible.

– The South Point properties, built in 2014, are able to use geothermal energy and surplus heating for 95% of their needs. The same applies to West Point properties, commissioned during the 2019 season; they utilise geothermal heating, says Antti.

– We are converting the energy solutions of the Gondola Building next, so that it too can use geothermal and surplus heating. We carried out a preliminary study in 2018-2019 with Granlund Consulting. This covered e.g. the necessary installations and geothermal fields. Calculating the exact return on investment varies, but the bay pack period should be under ten years, Antti continues.

– The solution that is planned for the Gondola uses a more sophisticated method to collect surplus heat; the heat is stored in the networks and surplus is driven back to the geothermal wells. Earlier systems have had to utilise various circuits and heat exchangers and some of the thermal energy is always lost that way. Furthermore, we are also exploring the possibility of utilising solar energy as part of the energy production for the Gondola building, says Antti.

– Levi Ski Resort is involved in Metsähallitus' TOBE Low Carbon project, which focuses on actions that reduce business's carbon footprint. Naturally, real estate has a role to play in that, Antti says.

 

SIGNIFICANT ENERGY REDUCTIONS ACHIEVED BY BUILDING AUTOMATION

Property manager Antti Rauhala says that the building automation system that was installed in 2017 has been an important factor in improving energy efficiency. Majority of the energy savings comes from the operating times of the ventilation system. Previously, air conditioning could only be operated at either full power or half power, adjusted on the basis of customer volume.

–  Thanks to the automation technology we are able to adjust air conditioning more accurately. Reduced operating times of the ventilation system have brought significant energy savings. It also improves comfort, as the ventilation now responds to the number of people on the premises, says Antti.

– We actively collect data from all the systems we use. For example, we have been monitoring electricity consumption of our properties under different weather conditions for more than a decade. This helps us optimise energy consumption, in a similar way as the data-driven snowmaking helps us save water and energy. Each of our service technicians uses a mobile application, with which they can update energy and water consumption monitoring data into our electronic logbook. The data from the logbook can be accessed by other systems and exported to Excel, Antti continues.

– The weather, the number of visitors and the number of operating days, all affect our total energy consumption. Consequently, different years are not directly comparable. However, when comparing the annual energy consumption of our facilities from before and after the building automation system was introduced, energy consumption has reduced by about one-fifth by a rough estimate. This has been a significant leap forward, Antti sums up.

Did you know that Levi is the first ISO 14001 certified ski resort in the Nordic countries? Get to know the 8 most impactful areas of our environmental efforts. Additionally, read about the development of resource and energy efficiency in snowmaking, our waste sorting efforts and the optimisation of the electricity consumption of slope lighting.

Levi Ski Resort

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