Oulu was chosen as one of the two “Lighthouse cities” involved in MAKING-CITY due to its current urban energy transformation strategy. The city council of Oulu adopted in 2012 the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) targeting a 20% reduction of Oulu’s carbon gas emissions by 2020. Actions such as improving public water management, increasing renewables as energy sources, or developing biogas plants, are expected to achieve this objective. More recently, the 2018 “Light of the North” strategy was adopted reinforcing the willingness of the city to act for sustainable urban energy transformation.
In Oulu, the district of Kaukovainio was selected to implement the PED concept developed in MAKING-CITY. Located 3 km away from the city center, this urban area gathers nearly 4,700 inhabitants and is mainly dominated by high-rise buildings and individual houses. The PED approach aims at revitalising the district by attracting more residents and families, fostering a community spirit, advancing equality between population groups, and promoting sustainability.
Overall, the PED implementation in Kaukovainio will be driven by the 2012 Master Plan for “land use, environmental, and transport” which is based on open meetings gathering residents, key players and Oulu representatives. Firstly, the retrofitting of residential buildings (windows, home energy controllers to monitor air quality and the energy consumption…) will allow to maximise infrastructure performance.
Furthermore, geothermal technology and solar panels will support the existing heating district system. One other innovative feature is the installation of geothermal heat pumps and thermal energy storage tanks at the earth of the Arina shopping centre. Coupled with solar panels covering the roof of this building, the tanks will assure a seasonal energy storage: on summer, the extra energy produced will be redistributed into the district network (heating and hot water), or stored for winter energy demand peaks.