Eko-Viikki in Helsinki is Finland’s first city district that truly combines ecological and urban values. A building permit for the area has only been granted if the construction project meets a set of ecological criteria designed for the district. When designing the area, the goal was to create a sustainable, healthy and modifiable residential environment with energy-saving solutions that reduce the amount of waste. Construction of the 24-hectare residential area of Eko-Viikki started in 1999, and the first buildings were completed in 2000.
Skanska also implemented a research and teaching facility called Biokeskus 3 (Bio-Center 3) in Viikki in 2001. Viikki's shopping center Prisma was completed by Skanska in September 2007.
In Eko-Viikki, solar energy has been used in warming many of the houses, and the warmth of the sun has also been taken into account in design. The buildings have been built in the direction from South to North, and on the Northern sides, there are less windows and doors in order to minimize the escaping warmth. The buildings do not have many parts that strech out from the main shape of the building and that would add to the amount of outer surfaces exposed to the cold, and this in its part helps to achieve the goals for lower energy consumption.
In the designing of the apartments, the usage of energy and water, the quality of indoor air and the adaptability of the apartments to changing needs have been borne in mind. The low energy consumption will not only benefit the environment, it also keeps the energy bill of the residents reasonable. Adaptability of spaces makes it relatively easy for the residents to make changes in the apartments as their living conditions alter.
The refrigerators and freezers in the apartments have low energy consumption and contain no freons, so they do not cause problems to the environment during their life cycle.
The sorting of garbage has been made as easy as possible for the residents. With the help of high quality equipment and clear sorting instructions, the amount of waste has been estimated to reduce by about 30 per cent compared to normal standards.
Benefits for the community
In Eko-Viikki, certain solutions in the living area design facilitate the community members getting to know each other. For example, in the residential project Ahomansikka, there are two separate sauna buildings on the property that are in shared use by the residents. This is not a common solution inFinlandtoday, as almost all new apartments have their own saunas. Naturally, the shared saunas save a lot of energy and have a higher usage percentage compared to individual saunas. In conjunction with the sauna buildings, there are shared premises for the residents' community activities. The residents of Ahomansikka can also participate in the arranging of community activities in a large meeting room that is meant for all the residents of the entire area. In addition, there is a laundry room next to the saunas. The laundry room makes it possible for the residents to use a couple of washing machines together instead of every family buying individual washing machines. This is also a solution that used to be common inFinland, but has become rare in new residential projects.
In September 2007, theSustainableCityevent appraised the Eko-Viikki area as the best ecological project in the North Sea andBaltic Seaarea.
Also, an award was given to Eko-Viikki at the Ecobuilding Performance 2007 event.