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Espoo seeks sustainability certification for Niittykumpu

Niittykumpu is one of the centers included in the Länsimetro development corridor. The size of the key area is approximately 50 ha. The new building stock planned in the area amounts to more than 250,000 floor square meters, consisting mostly of apartment buildings. The Niittykumpu center is City of Espoo’s first BREEAM Communities project.

Senior Consultant Tuomo Sirkiä from Sito, partnering with Architect Jenni Lautso, collaborate with Sustainability Consultant Sara Tuovinen from Granlund Consulting Oy to prepare the certification of the Niittykumpu regional development project in accordance with the BREEAM Communities sustainability assessment method.

Sito is responsible for the criteria related to city structure and ecology, and Granlund for the criteria related to energy and buildings. Espoo aims at reaching an ‘excellent’ BREEAM certification rating, or at least 70% of the maximum score.

The presentation compiled on the basis of the first-stage criteria, or the principle of development criteria (such as ecology and energy strategies, mobility and interaction), has been submitted to BRE Global for assessment. The demonstration material establishing compliance with the second- and third-stage criteria is currently being compiled in collaboration with the City of Espoo. The aim is to have the final application filed by the end of 2017, in which case the certificate could be granted in 2018.

The Niittykumpu center is City of Espoo’s first BREEAM Communities project. The city wants to develop methods for certification system-based environmental guidance for regional planning and construction, and create practices which would enable steering and assessment of regional development at the various stages of planning and implementation.
“The goal is to find the best methods for planning and implementation, and provision of instructions to developers that would take account of the BREEAM Communities goals for sites and properties. The objective is to construct a built environment with reduced environmental burden that would serve its users as well as possible,” says Tuomo Sirkiä from Sito.

The preparatory tasks for certification include steering provided for regional planning and construction of the public realm. An ecology strategy (Ramboll) and an energy strategy (Sito/Granlund) were drawn up in connection with the project. The implementation stage of the strategies is about to begin. In the property development projects, the biggest operators in the Niittykumpu center include SRV, SATO, Varma, Hartela, Skanska, Espoon Asunnot, Veritas and Lujatalo.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method) Communities, published in 2008 and updated in 2012, is a British assessment method for the sustainability of regional projects that is widely applied in the rest of Europe and the world as well.

This independent method helps authorities, design teams and regional developers create sustainable plans for large-scale development projects. The method covers economic, social and environmental sustainability. It includes three levels of scope: (1) in local masterplan level projects, the assessment is used for steering the principles of development, (2) in town planning projects, for steering regional design solutions, and (3) in city block-level projects, for steering the details of the plans. In total, there are 40 main assessment issues.

3. Detailed planning – ‘city block plan’ (12 main assessment issues)

2. Regional planning – ‘town plan’ (17 main assessment issues)

1. Principles of development – ‘local masterplan’ (11 main assessment issues)

BREEAM Communities stages of assessment (BRE Global)

Sito has conducted several preliminary sustainability assessments of regional projects using the BREEAM Communities method, including the center of Rovaniemi, Leppävirta and Oulunsalo.

For further information, please contact
Senior Consultant Tuomo Sirkiä, Lic.Sc. (Tech), Architect SAFA, YKS-138
Licensed Assessor/BRE Global