100 ways to combat climate change in municipalities
For us Greens, the upcoming municipal elections are about making all Finnish municipalities pioneers in efforts to fight climate change.
Many municipalities have already set ambitious climate targets.
We believe that the goal should be for all municipalities to be carbon-neutral by the 2030s at the latest.
We have compiled a list of one hundred climate actions on things that can be done, and are being done, in municipalities to meet this goal. From the point of view of energy, mobility, construction and many other municipal services, such goals must be set high.
1. Municipal energy companies must discontinue the use of peat and fossil fuels. The state provides incentives for energy companies that will discontinue the use of coal by 2025.
2. Property-specific and large-scale heat pumps are being installed.
3. Oil-based heating in municipal properties is being replaced with heat pumps or other low-emission solutions.
4. Private consumers are being encouraged to give up oil-based heating, and are being advised on how to do so. State support is provided for this.
5. Assessments are being made of major waste heat and exhaust air recovery sites, such as sports facilities and offices, and profitable projects are being implemented.
6. New methods of energy production and smart energy solutions are being tested. In Lappeenranta, for example, a virtual power plant compensates for fluctuations in the generation of wind power.
7. The heat from wastewater and sewage sludge is used for heating.
8. In municipal energy procurement, only renewable electricity is purchased.
9. The provision of energy advice for local residents and awareness are being increased. In particular, the competence of housing association decision-makers and municipal employees in energy matters is being improved.
10. Local residents are encouraged to make energy-saving renovations. For example, in the Helsinki energy renaissance project, the City of Helsinki’s energy advisers provide housing companies with concrete, impartial information and guidance, as well as practical assistance in carrying out energy-related renovations.
11. Proactive advice for housing companies is being developed to take into account the potential for energy savings and the use of renewable energy sources in renovations.
12. Energy is saved in municipal organisations with the 50/50 model, where a school, library or other unit receives half of the saved energy costs for its own use.
13. Energy-saving measures are being piloted in collaboration with local residents. For example, in Lappeenranta, 46 households were given the opportunity within the framework of Greenreality’s operations to try out solutions to reduce their home’s carbon footprint.
14. Solar panels are being installed on municipal properties. For example, the City of Porvoo is installing solar panels in all of its own new construction and renovation projects.
15. The production and use of biogas are being increased. For example, the Regional Council of Central Finland has drawn up a plan for biogas production and consumption in the region.
16. Collaboration is underway with local agricultural and other companies that can produce biogas. For example, the City of Jyväskylä uses local production in its biogas-fuelled buses.
17. Municipal lighting is being renewed to make it more energy-efficient.
18. Electricity and heat demand elasticity and plus-energy construction are being piloted. For example, the City of Helsinki is currently piloting both.
19. Improvements are being made in the opportunities for local residents to monitor their own energy and water consumption and in encouraging residents to reduce it.
20. Intelligent technology is being used to optimise heat, electricity and water consumption in municipal properties and infrastructure.
21. The use of public transport is being increased.
22. Walking and cycling opportunities are being developed, and walking and cycling paths are kept in good condition.
23. Electric buses are being used.
24. Tram rails are being built.
25. Employee tickets and electric bicycles are provided to municipal employees.
26. Urban city bike systems are being set up. Urban boat services are also a possibility.
27. Electric car charging stations and biogas filling stations are being built.
28. Vehicles used by municipalities are being replaced with electric and biogas-fuelled or other low-emission vehicles.
29. Autonomous transport are being developed. For example, the Sohjoa project tested driverless buses in Helsinki, Espoo and Tampere.
30. Municipalities are improving the accessibility of their nature sites by public transport and on foot. For example, the Nuuksioon.fi service encourages visitors to Nuuksio National Park to reach the park by public transport.
31. Congestion charging are being introduced in large urban areas. Revenue from congestion charges are being directed to the development of public transport.
32. Municipalities are taking measures to reduce local traffic congestion. For example, the Parkkihaukka service transmitted images from the Nuuksio parking area via the internet so that visitors could avoid the worst peak times.
33. The municipal tourism sector are being greened. For example, the City of Pori is investigating how to encourage and enable tourists to travel in sustainable ways.
34. Municipalities are introducing shared cars for rental for city and town workers, residents and tourists.
35. Call-taxi systems are being introduced as a public transport solution in sparsely populated areas. For example, the Kyläkyyti service in Porvoo enables customers to choose their desired pick-up point and destination, and rides in the same direction are being combined.
36. In order to enable car-free residential areas, municipalities are discontinuing the use of parking place norms in construction.
37. They are increasing the price of parking in town and city centres.
38. Municipalities are also introducing staggered parking fees according to car emissions and sharing.
39. They are also improving the opportunities for park-and-ride travel at traffic junctions.
40. Safe and weatherproof bike parks are being built.
41. The deployment of new types of smart mobility services is being supported and tested.
42. Emissions from distribution traffic are being reduced, for example through the introduction of criteria for tendering, the terms of the distribution traffic parking code and the creation of centralised pick-up points for goods and orders. For example, Turku CityHUB acts as a hub for courier services and a pick-up point for customer orders.
43. Energy audits for municipal transport chains are being introduced to pinpoint the potential for emissions reductions.
44. The suitability of the existing infrastructure for charging electric cars are being investigated. For example, the municipality of Nokia is investigating the use of car heating poles and outdoor outlets for buildings for charging of electric cars for area residents and working people.
Procurement and services
45. Municipalities are monitoring energy consumption in municipal properties, such as schools. They are giving property users (e.g. schoolchildren) the opportunity to participate in reducing energy consumption. In the municipality of Ii, for example, daycare centres and schools are at the forefront of climate-conscious efforts.
46. The share of plant-based food offered in municipal food services is being increased.
47. Municipalities are setting binding targets to reduce meat and milk consumption.
48. Wastage in municipal food services is being reduced.
49. The carbon footprint is being taken into account as a procurement criterion in municipal procurement. Sustainable development is being taken into account in municipal procurement guidelines. This has been done in Ii, for example.
50. Municipalities are developing textile recycling. For example, the textile waste recycling centre in the Bioruukki bio-economy and circular economy centre in Kivenlahti, Espoo has been opened to companies in the region that are developing further innovations.
51. Municipalities are collaborating with each other in procurement. Municipalities have jointly procured solar power plants, among other things, and joint procurement is pending for electric and gas-fuelled cars and charging points for electric cars.
52. Where possible, goods procured for municipalities are being used up and used goods are being purchased.
53. Municipalities are taking emissions into account in tendering for transport and work machines and contracts relating to them.
54. Municipal food transportation and other transportation are being optimised to keep mileage and emissions to a minimum.
55. Municipalities are procuring only low-emission vehicles and machinery for their own use.
56. Sustainable lifestyles are being promoted in social and health services. In Päijät-Häme, for example, parents are given advice on environmental issues in connection with child health clinic visits.
57. The teaching of sustainable lifestyles in different schools and levels of education is being promoted. For example, a 1.5-degree lifestyle game, developed in collaboration with municipalities, provides tools for a climate discussion between students and homes. This allows the means learned to be put into action at home.
58. Municipalities are incorporating climate-conscious and sustainable development initiatives into early childhood education plans.
59. Municipalities are promoting the sharing economy, for example by offering local residents hobby equipment and work machines on loan.
Zoning and areas
60. Zoning services are being planned close to residents and public transport.
61. Wind farm areas are being zoned.
62. Municipalities are establishing nature reserves.
63. Drained bogs owned by municipalities are being restored.
64. Municipal wastelands are being forested.
65. Municipalities are transitioning to continuous cultivation in forests they own.
66. Forest management plans are being developed, setting out measures to conserve and increase the amount of carbon sinks.
67. New energy solutions and energy efficiency measures are being tested in new residential areas. For example, a new energy-efficient district for about 6,000 inhabitants is being built in Skaftkärr, Porvoo.
68. Municipalities are guiding zoning for the creation of cycling-focused and pedestrian-focused blocks and areas.
69. Zoning regulations promote the use of renewable energy, energy saving, local energy production and the use of areas and facilities that reduce emissions.
70. Municipalities are introducing compensation in connection with necessary construction elsewhere for carbon sinks and natural assets that are lost to construction.
71. Municipalities are setting stricter emissions requirements for environmental permits that they issue.
Construction and housing
72. Energy and material audits are being carried out on municipal properties to identify the potential for savings.
73. Parishes and other property owners are being encouraged to conduct energy and material assessments.
74. Energy efficiency in municipally owned buildings is being improved by various means, for example by increasing the use of insulation and installing exhaust air heat pumps.
75. The carbon footprint of libraries, schools and other municipal buildings is being determined, and systematic efforts are being made to reduce it. In Lappeenranta, for example, a new model has been developed for the comprehensive measurement and reduction of the carbon footprint of municipal buildings.
76. The circular economy is being promoted on construction sites. For example, the RANTA project (for the adoption of circular economic practices in municipal construction) involves the search for new uses for demolition waste in the municipality.
77. Municipalities are increasing the amount of wood construction. For example, the Tuupala school in Kuhmo was built from locally sourced wood in a local factory, and the school is heated by the use of excess heat from a local sawmill.
78. Extensive waste sorting opportunities are being introduced for local residents, and sorting is taken care of in municipal operations.
79. The amount of waste that ends up in landfills is being minimised, and the use of landfill gases is also being increased.
80. The use of recycled materials is being increased in the construction of buildings and in infrastructure construction and maintenance.
81. Municipalities are minimising life cycle emissions in municipal construction and infrastructure construction.
82. High energy-efficiency is aimed for in the renovation of municipal housing production, and energy-efficiency measures that are profitable in terms of life cycle costs are being introduced.
83. Improvements are being made to the occupancy rate of municipal buildings, and a wide range of uses is being made possible.
84. Emission-free construction sites are being piloted in municipal construction, and experience-based models are being introduced at all municipal construction sites. In Helsinki, for example, such a pilot project is already underway.
85. Municipalities are incorporating stringent energy-efficiency requirements in the terms and conditions for the provision of plots. Tenders for the handover of plots are done in such a way as to promote carbon transfer aimed at carbon neutrality.
86. Zero energy construction is being preferred so that buildings will produce at least as much energy as they consume.
87. Recycled materials and materials created from recycled raw materials are being used in municipal landscaping.
88. Residents are being provided with shared facilities, such as remote working solutions, which reduce the need for space in apartments.
89. Binding emission reduction targets are being set for municipalities, and their progress is monitored. At present, 45% of the Finnish population already live in municipalities that aim to be carbon-neutral by 2030.
90. Municipalities are being connected to carbon-neutral Hinku municipalities, resource-wise Fisu municipalities or other climate networks.
91. Collaboration between neighbouring municipalities is being conducted. For example, a project by the Regional Council of Central Finland is developing new solutions for municipal emission reductions using peer learning.
92. Municipalities are being included in the voluntary municipal energy efficiency agreement, which already includes 117 municipalities.
93. Local residents are involved in the planning of emission reductions.
94. Emissions reduction targets are set for all municipal organisations. In Vihti, for example, each service and unit implements its own measures to promote climate-related goals.
95. Climate budgets are being introduced. For example, for the first time, the City of Tampere’s 2020 budget included a climate budget to increase the visibility of the city’s climate-friendly actions and the resources budgeted for them.
96. Environmental companies in the region are being coordinated to develop new solutions and business models. For example, the operations of the Greenreality Network, a business-oriented energy and environmental network in South Karelia, are coordinated by Wirma, which is responsible for the City of Lappeenranta’s corporate and industrial services.
97. Roadmaps or action plans are being drawn up for municipalities for the circular economy and the sharing economy.
98. Municipal climate change adaptation strategies are being created.
99. The emergence and market of products and services that enable municipalities and companies to reduce their emissions are promoted through municipal procurement, experiments, guidelines and other means.
100. The climate impact of large municipal projects is being assessed, and municipalities are making efforts to reduce the impact.