Energy efficiency drove construction of Elenia Areena

Mar 19, 2015

Functionality and energy efficiency were the principles driving the design and construction of Elenia Areena in Hämeenlinna, Finland.

The walls built of energy panels mean savings in heating costs, LED lights cut electricity consumption and an automatic system keeps water consumption under control. Environmental soundness was obvious already at the design stage.

Hämeenlinnan liikuntahallit Oy is a company providing recreational facilities such as indoor sports centres, swimming pools, ice rinks and sports fields to the people of Hämeenlinna. Completed in August last year, Elenia Areena is, according to Jorma Hassinen, Liikuntahallit Oy’s managing director, primarily as sports centre, but with a floor area of 6,000 square metres, the premises can also host a range of international events from concerts to trade fairs. The first event held at the arena was a football match in August 2014 between Finland and Belgium. The lead contractor was Lemminkäinen, a construction company.

Elenia Areena has replaced the old sports hall, which had reached the end of its useful life. The old sports hall will be demolished and housing built on the site.

Built on functionality and energy efficiency

Work on building Elenia Areena started in summer 2013 and was designed to provide good, practical indoor sports facilities for the residents of Hämeenlinna. Another important criterion was the energy efficiency of the building. Around 30-40 % of the energy used by an indoor sports centre goes on heating. The wall structures of Elenia Areena include Ruukki life panels, which save heating energy. Ruukki life panels are sandwich panels made of steel sheets with an insulation core of mineral wool made from recycled material. Jorma Hassinen emphasises the importance of energy efficiency in designing the building. Energy efficiency was taken into account in everything.

“We decided on air-tight panels, which save at least 15 % in heating costs, just as Ruukki promised. Energy consumption is high in Nordic climes and responsible actors need to factor energy efficiency into their decisions. This is part of our contribution to environmental responsibility.”

Heating water consumes energy. Elenia Areena features a water saving system that automatically turns the shower water off when someone leaves the shower. The system will pay for itself in three years. Lighting is provided by LED lamps, which automatically turn themselves off. It is estimated that these lamps will save 50-60 % energy compared to conventional lighting.

Energy efficiency is also of interest to the residents of Hämeenlinna since around half of Elenia Areena’s costs are met out of taxes and half from charges for use.

Brilliant construction project

The Elenia Areena construction project is reaping plaudits. Jorma Hassinen applauds construction of the arena as a brilliant project, for which thanks are largely due to Mika Rokala, site manager at Lemminkäinen.

“The project and teamwork went without a hitch, thanks to good plans, which weren’t changed halfway through the project,” says Mika Rokala.

Energy efficiency is an increasingly prominent aspect, especially since energy performance of buildings regulations underline the importance of energy efficiency. Mika Rokala has noticed a change in attitudes towards energy efficiency over the past five years.

“Customers are much more demanding than earlier when it comes to energy efficiency. Half of the projects highlight energy efficiency, mostly in commercial and logistics buildings. Rather than energy efficiency requirements making projects more complex, they form part of quality management systems,” explains Rokala.

The choices highlighting energy efficiency in Elenia Areena and the experiences of these choices point the way to Hämeenlinnan liikuntahallit Oy’s future construction projects.

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