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Ruskeasuon varikko Helsingissä

The Ruskeasuo depot supports the Carbon-neutral Helsinki 2030 goal

Published: Mar 23, 2023

The Ruskeasuo depot, to be completed in spring 2024, is one of the largest infrastructure projects in the Helsinki metropolitan area and also a major step towards the City of Helsinki’s carbon neutrality goal. Sweco has supported Skanska in the low-carbon construction of the depot from the very beginning.

The Ruskeasuo depot built by Skanska will accommodate 100 electric trams and 200 buses for storage and maintenance in 2024. The infrastructure project supports the expansion of the inner city tramway network and through it sustainable mobility with renewable electrical energy.

“It is rare globally for a bus depot to be built on top of a tram depot,” says Teemu Saarinen, Project Planning Manager at Skanska.

The size of the project is also exceptional, which is why the project worth more than EUR 100 million will be implemented at Skanska by the joint efforts of the Infrastructure, Building Services and Business Premises units.

“Sweco also has extensive responsibilities for structural, energy and building services design in the project,” says Sweco’s Technology Manager Kari Nöjd.

Carbon neutrality roadmap guides overall sustainability

Important background information for the depot project was provided by the emissions calculation prepared by Gaia, part of Sweco, which assessed the Scope 1–3 emissions caused by the former Helsinki City Transport’s operations. Gaia also prepared emission scenarios for Metropolitan Area Transport Ltd, which took into account the impacts of various low-carbon solutions.

“In addition, together with the key personnel of City Transport, we created the Carbon-neutral Urban Transport programme, which defines in more detail the measures required to achieve carbon neutrality, for example in the material choices of depot projects and energy production methods,” says Laura Ylimäki, Business Manager at Gaia.

According to Nöjd, low-carbon solutions have been raised in the Ruskeasuo depot project alongside the schedule and cost targets. Natural values have not been forgotten either, and biodiversity is supported by plants that attract pollinators, insect hotels and bat boxes, among other things. In addition, sustainability will be reflected in future equipment.

“The new trams run on renewable electricity, and all bus locations at the depot are equipped with electric charging points.”

The circular economy is visible in the use of recycled materials

Material efficiency is evident in the depot’s circular economy solutions.

“The aim is to recover about 90% of construction waste, which reduces the need for virgin natural aggregates,” says Nöjd.

The depot has already been able to utilise crushed demolition concrete generated in the adjacent Laakso Hospital area and Betoroc recycled concrete. In addition, a water recycling system has been connected to the washing equipment of buses and trams to save clean water.

The circular economy goals and sustainability of the depot project support the sustainable development goals of all parties. Sweco is committed to carbon neutrality in Finland by 2030 and globally 10 years later. Skanska’s global target is 2045.

“In a project like Depot, environmentally efficient solutions can genuinely be implemented,” Saarinen emphasises.

He also raises the issue of social responsibility. This can be seen, for example, in occupational safety and the diversity of the work community.

“At the end of November, we celebrated the 300th day without accidents at the construction site, and the project is being taken forward with more than 20 nationalities!”

Carbon neutrality target tightened by five years

During the development phase of the depot project, important quality conditions came from BREEAM Excellent environmental certification and the Carbon-neutral Helsinki target.

“The carbon neutrality target of Helsinki was tightened by five years after the start of the project, and we had to find new measures in addition to those already agreed,” Saarinen says.

The design team compiled a list of nearly 90 measures, from which the most useful options are selected together with the client. Geothermal heat was chosen as the heating and cooling method.

“Energy is also saved by demand-based control of ventilation and lighting,” says Jesse Kurkinen, Project Manager for HVAC technology at Sweco.

Decision-making in the project has been supported by BIM-based carbon footprint calculation developed by Sweco, which is based on the calculation method of the Ministry of the Environment.

“Thanks to carbon footprint calculations, Lujabetoni’s low-carbon concrete has been used in the basement ceiling and walls, in almost all foundations and to some extent also in columns,” says Mikko Huhtala, Project Manager for structural engineering at Sweco. The consumption of concrete has also been successfully optimised.

Read more about the cooperation between Skanska and Sweco at the Ruskeasuo depot!

Photos: Skanska and Arkkitehtityöhuone APRT Oy