Leading Finnish newspaper printing facility reduces energy consumption and CO2 emissions by 20 per cent.

Sanomala, located in Vantaa in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, is one of the largest printing facilities in northern Europe. For newsprint reams to pass without disruption through hundreds of metres of production lines, the temperature and humidity levels of the facility have to stay within closely defined limits.

LeaseGreen, a specialist in the modernisation of large-scale real estate properties, carried out an extensive energy overhaul in Sanomala, updating the facility’s building automation and ventilation technology. One of the enhancements includes the use of artificial intelligence in controlling the new systems.

“We have kept the facility’s production process in top condition and we have a robust building, but the technology within it had reached the end of its life cycle”, says Jorma Kyrö, CEO of Sanomala.

“Building technology plays a crucial role in a process where even fifteen minutes of delay can be really costly. The facility’s humidity level has to remain completely stable; paper that is too damp or too dry will catch in the conveyors.”

Sanomala prints the major titles of the Finnish Sanoma Group, Helsingin Sanomat and Ilta-Sanomat – two of Finland’s leading newspapers – as well as numerous print products for external customers. The Sanomala property is owned by the Swedish-listed real estate investment company AB Sagax, which leases the facility to Sanoma.

Completed in 1977, the property has an area of approximately 53,000 m2 and an annual energy consumption of 24,000 MWh in electricity and heating. The energy overhaul carried out by LeaseGreen has improved conditions within the facility while reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions by around 20 per cent.

“Our guiding principle is to take care of critical issues within the property in-house, but understanding the system as a whole requires extensive know-how”, explains Kyrö.

“If we had tried to do this ourselves, we would have spent an absurd amount of time on it and would probably have ended up just replacing the technology with similar solutions, without gaining proper control over the system as a whole. LeaseGreen allowed us to take care of all the vital parts at once. Now this has been done, we can focus on our core business.”

LeaseGreen started carrying out Sanomala’s energy efficiency investments in the autumn of 2017. According to the Sanoma Group’s Real Estate Manager, Jarmo Viitanen, the effect of the investments could be discerned quickly:

“Graphs were already indicating a downward trend before the winter. We will achieve savings of 15–20 per cent in our energy consumption during this first heating season alone, even though some of the systems were only completed at the beginning of 2018.”

LeaseGreen estimates that the Sanomala energy overhaul will provide an excellent return on investment for the Sanoma Group, with predicted savings of some 4.4 million euros over the investment’s life cycle.

Ville Jokela, Head of Real Estate at the group, explains that responsibility is an increasingly relevant factor in the property sector’s decision-making:

“Our financial and responsibility goals go hand-in-hand in Sanomala. We have achieved a significant cut in the printing facility’s emissions through an investment that will pay for itself in two to three years. For every euro we have spent on energy efficiency we will get back five euros, with the added bonus of a much reduced carbon footprint.”

Jokela believes that there are great opportunities in energy efficiency for the whole of Finland. He also trusts that cutting energy consumption and emissions is a part of sensible risk management.

“There is huge potential. There are many old properties in active use in Finland where the energy systems have not been modernised. There is potential even in real estate built in the last two decades, because solutions are often chosen by the builders that may be affordable today, but can become expensive during their life cycles. When we use energy responsibly, we save money to invest in other purposes. Energy efficiency is also a smart way to prepare for the future, including possible consumption and emissions limits being imposed on commercial enterprises by the government.”

Jokela says that the Sanoma Group is very satisfied with the overall service and project implementation offered by LeaseGreen.

“The end result is impressive. LeaseGreen offered a clear concept and solutions tailored to our needs. New opportunities came up and were seized along the way, and the investments were executed without disturbing our delicate production process. The Sanomala facility is now able to fulfil its purpose even better than before.”

LeaseGreen CEO Tomi Mäkipelto is pleased to see the demanding project complete. Mäkipelto believes that there are many similar industrial production plants in Finland with the potential to improve their energy efficiency by anything between 10 and 50 per cent.

“Sanomala is a great example of a Finnish production facility where an energy overhaul is having a direct impact on competitiveness. Energy efficiency is a smart investment that pays for itself.”