Sponda and its partners arranged an environmental awareness event at Aalto University’s Departments of Architecture and Media.
The event at Aalto University’s Otaniemi campus encouraged reducing energy consumption and environmental load. Those studying and working at Aalto were also able to find out about ecologically efficient solutions in the event. The environmental awareness event also guided the users of the premises in personal ecological actions, such as how the carbon footprint can be influenced by way of daily eating habits.
“We wanted to encourage the users of the premises to act in an environmentally friendly way,” says Sponda’s Sustainability Manager Hanna Duraku.
“The aim of the event was to involve the users of the premises and encourage them to act in an increasingly ecological way. An environmental partnership agreement signed between Aalto and Sponda at the end of 2014 was at the background of the event,” says Sponda’s Sustainability Manager Hanna Duraku.
Around fifty students at the Department of Architecture and Media visited the event. They came up with ideas for a sustainable campus.
Making ecology part of everyday life
Sponda and its environmental partners set environmental objectives for the properties they own. Their implementation is monitored on a monthly basis.
The goal at the Miestentie 3 property in Otaniemi is to reduce the building’s energy and water consumption by 2% from the previous year and increase the efficiency of waste recycling further.
Environmental aspects and sustainability are a natural part of Sponda’s operations, and they have been given an important role in the company’s operating strategy.
“We monitor every month the energy consumption, recycling rate and water consumption of the property and aim to proportion them to the very fluctuating numbers of students there. I have heard that students even spend nights in sleeping bags there,” Duraku says.
Säde Palmu, chair of Aalto University’s Guild of Architecture, also gave a speech at the event with the theme Yhdessä kestävämpää kampusta (More sustainable campus together). Aalto University aims to be Finland’s leading sustainable university campus by 2020.
Palmu reminds us that the Guild of Architecture is the first guild at the Otaniemi campus to have a person appointed with responsibility for environmental issues. Taking environmental aspects into account at the campus is not, however, only the task of the person specifically responsible for it, as taking care of environmental issues is everyone’s task. Students of architecture will also after graduation influence the kinds of environmentally friendly solutions implemented in future buildings and residential areas.
“It’s good for future designers to consider already during their studies where the recyclable materials of scale models, for example, end up and how could they be recycled in the most efficient way to generate as little landfill waste as possible.” I would encourage us all to consider these questions that emerged at the event in our own operations,” Palmu said.
Partnership for the good of the environment
According to Tanja Pietikäinen of Aalto campus services, the environmental awareness event is a good way of engaging students in the joint environmental effort.
“Students are already very active in environment-related questions. For example, the property owner providing facilities for sorting waste is a good thing.”
Kaisla Rahkola, first-year student of landscape architecture, says that co-operation between the users and owners of the building in environmental issues is important as the users have personal knowledge of the kinds of improvements and help that they might need to increase the efficiency of recycling, for example.
“Considering environmental issues is very important in our field, and something that will not go away. It will be increasingly evident in our studies in the future, too.”
The owner of the property in which the Departments of Architecture and Media are located, Sponda, organised the environmental awareness event in co-operation with Aalto University’s Guild of Architecture, Department of Architecture and the Aalto University campus services unit. The exhibitors also included Corbel and Lassila&Tikanoja, responsible for cleaning and maintenance at the property, and the environmental organisation WWF.
Text: Nina Garlo-Melkas