ACRE – developing smart and sustainable campus

Aalto University Campus & Real Estate (ACRE) has a central role in Smart Otaniemi as they manage buildings of Aalto University in the Otaniemi campus area. Because many Smart Otaniemi pilots need and produce data linked to buildings and its users, you’ll probably bump on the name ACRE, if you are piloting your solution in Otaniemi. They are also leading the underground thermal energy storage pilot.

“Nowadays we can use data to understand the building users better, for example, the user preferences related to spaces, indoor conditions and services. We are enthusiastic about the ongoing pilot projects in Smart Otaniemi, because we want to learn, how we can at the same time use the buildings as environmentally friendly as possible and on the other hand, serve building users better and with more individually tailored services”  pilot leader Antti Säynäjoki says.

Piloting gives insight on future business environment

For ACRE, the reason to participate and enable smart energy pilots in Otaniemi is a question of supporting sustainable development. “Buildings have central role as energy users and producers, so they have great impact on sustainability issues. We need to learn to use buildings as resource efficiently as possible. On the other hand, doing R&D work with most innovative partners in the sector, both in business and research, is very fruitful for us. The advantage of this kind of test environment is that when new solutions emerge, actors of the ecosystem can right away test and learn how their own solutions would fit or match to the operating environment of the future.”  Säynäjoki concludes.

More efficient ways to utilize underground thermal energy

New understanding on energy efficient building maintenance is growing in underground thermal energy storage pilot. VÄRE building at Otaniemi has 74 heat wells, which are 320m deep. Distributed Temperature Sensing (DTS) cables monitoring temperature in the surrounding ground, have been installed in some of the heat wells. “We want to understand how much we can use the thermal heating during the cold months without contributing to freezing of the ground and how much more efficiently we can use the system for cooling during summer, if we are able to lower the ground temperature during the cold months”  Antti Säynäjoki tells.

The idea is to diminish the need for purchased energy. As a result, guidelines for using building automation system and control heat wells will be produced. 0n the second piloting phase, ACRE plans to study the opportunities related to underground energy storage and demand-response. We will also focus on communication for building users about energy and environmental aspects, so that they would be motivated to do energy wise decisions, when their actions are needed in participating demand -response market.


Partners in underground thermal energy storage pilot:
ACRE, Geological Survey of Finland (GTK), Aalto University