Porvoo parish achieving significant savings through ground heat

© Jyrki Tenhunen / SYKE

Porvoo parish was granted the Hinku award this April. The parish has achieved  significant emission reductions by switching over from oil to geothermal heat in the heating of Porvoo Cathedral.

The system will also provide relief during the summer heat.

Timo Kraufvelin, Facility Engineer

The energy produced by ground heat is used in the underfloor heating and radiators of the church, which are based on water circulation, as well as heating the service water. Ground heat is also used in the nearby buildings of the Cathedral.

According to calculations by Vesi & Watti Oy, the project specialist, the new system will repay itself within ten years, if not sooner. In terms of emissions, the Finnish Environment Institute estimated the annual emissions reduction potential as approximately 80 tonnes of carbon dioxide if the ground heat system utilises renewable electricity. The renovations were designed in 2016–2017, and the final installations were completed at the end of 2018.

Timo Kraufvelin, Facility Engineer for the Porvoo parish, expects that the system will also bring relief during the summer heat, because the energy produced by the system can also be used to cool the facilities and control humidity.

Cultural-historical values and the protection of groundwater require special actions

Several special features, such as the cultural and historical significance of the church and the water intake area located nearby, had to be taken into account in the project planning, even though the Cathedral falls outside the protection zone of the water intake area. Archaeological excavations were carried out in the area instructed by the Finnish Heritage Agency, and due to the sensitive soil, a geothermal fluid safe for use in groundwater areas was selected for the heating system. A total of eight holes over 300 metres in depth were drilled in the bedrock for the ground heat system.

The total costs of the ground heat renovation launched by Property and Procurement Manager Dan Tallberg of the Porvoo parish added up to approximately 350,000 euros. The oil heating system of the Cathedral was ageing both technically and financially, as well as from an environmental perspective.

The action is part of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland’s Carbon Neutral Church by 2030 programme

‘The Porvoo parish is satisfied that the unique project at a unique site was carried out as planned and on time. The project also implements the new energy and climate strategy of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, which recommends discontinuing the use of oil heating by 2025. In that sense, we are ahead of our time,’ Tallberg notes.

As a local actor, we wish to carry out good environmental choices in our everyday life as far as possible.

Jan Tallberg, Property and Procurement Manager

‘The Church is committed to national as well as international work for mitigating climate change. As a local actor, we wish to carry out good environmental choices in our everyday life as far as possible,’ Tallberg continues.

Projects supporting practical work for the environment

The City of Porvoo has been part of the Towards Carbon Neutral Municipalities (Hinku) network since October 2014. The main objective of the Hinku network is to decrease greenhouse gas emissions by 80% from the 2007 level by 2030.

The City of Porvoo is also participating in the six-year EU Life IP Canemure (Towards Carbon Neutral Municipalities) project to promote the mitigation of climate change, coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute. Key objectives of the Porvoo’s sub-project include decreasing energy consumption and optimising the use of renewable energy utilising digital solutions. The entire Uusimaa region is also part of the Canemure project, which in addition to the tangible sub-projects aims to decrease emissions in seven regions through regional support and a network of experts.

Training and practical support for the improvement of the energy efficiency of buildings is also available through the Life EconomisE project (Value for money: unlocking the investment potential for resilient low-carbon Finnish building stock) by WWF Finland, The Finnish Environment Institute, and SYKLI Environmental School of Finland.

Actors and projects

The leap archive of project EconomisE.
The leap archive of Porvoo.
The leap archive of project Towards Carbon Neutral Municipalities (Hinku).

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