Answers to the Otaniemi 1.5 petition

The Otaniemi 1.5 petition, whose signatures were collected in connection with the Otaniemi climate strikes, encourages the Aalto community to commit to acts that can radically reduce our impact on global warming. Aalto University Student Union wants to do its share for minimising the ecological footprint of Aalto people and limiting the rise in global average temperature to the critical 1.5 degrees. As a pioneer, we will be communicating even more openly about the deeds we do for the environment and the climate from now on.

Here are our answers to the three goals of the Otaniemi 1.5 petition. 

1. Over the next few years, AYY will build a significant number of new student homes. When building these, the construction emissions must be taken into account. Low-emission solutions and ecological materials such as wood construction should be favored. The lifetime span of the buildings should be extended significantly, with the aim of constructing homes with an unlimited life cycle.

In the future, more attention will be paid to AYY’s newbuilds being ecological and sustainable throughout their lifespan, starting from the construction materials. We promote construction and planning policies that support sustainable and environmentally friendly material choices as well as the buildings’ energy self-sufficiency. In the future, we will be requiring the planners to take sustainable solutions into account in the project planning phase. 

In the already built and renovated properties, sustainability, quality and the environment have been taken into account by favouring durable materials and energy-efficient furnishings. As a provider of reasonably priced student apartments, we consider buildings’ longevity and efficient floor plan solutions essential. 

2. The future student center needs to be implemented as a carbon neutral building. 

We are currently looking into various ways of executing the Student Centre carbon-neutrally. We take all sustainable construction solutions in future projects seriously and are preparing a planning and procurement guideline for our partners in our current projects to guide them towards more sustainable construction. In addition to the carbon footprint, other areas of sustainable construction – such as life-cycle assessment and user-friendliness – will also be taken into account in the Student Centre. 

3. The electricity and heating in AYY's real estate needs to become carbon-free. 

We are currently switching wholly to carbon-free electricity, with the change being completed before the end of the year if possible. Even before this, a significant part of the electricity used in our properties has been green. Switching to carbon-free geothermal or district heating is a bigger and more complicated change than the choice of electricity type, which is why it is a longer-term goal of ours and our stakeholders. The goal is, however, to switch wholly to carbon-free heating, and we are negotiating the matter with the local heating companies. The possibilities of geothermal heating are also being looked into. 

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