Category Archives: Experiences

Harvia: Together to the top of the world

Published: 19.2.2015 Author: Ouman Oy

The sauna heater control unit is a simple regulator. Designing such a device would be easy, if one would not have to heat the small room until it is fiery hot and not throw water on the heater.

The sauna has the toughest conditions for a modern building, if we talk about building technology. Strict standards have been enacted for heaters, steam generators and lighting. The control of the heater must never fail. Otherwise both the building and people are in danger.

Reliability is one of the cornerstones of the cooperation between Ouman and Harvia. Ouman designs and manufactures all the electronics needed by Harvia.
The OEM cooperation has continued uninterrupted already for twenty years. Ouman has had an important role in Harvia becoming the world’s leading heater manufacturer.

”Ouman has delivered tens of thousand of products to Harvia. The share of faulty devices is insignificantly small,” says Pasi Manneros, director of Ouman’s OEM services.
According to Manneros, only the top quality is good enough for the heaters. One cannot afford to mess up with a part that costs only 20 cents, because its breaking causes a bill of many hundreds of euros.

”Even if the building did not burn, people don’t like the maintenance man bothering them. It causes a lot of bad will.”

Ouman is the customer’s product development department

The cooperation between Ouman and Harvia is exceptionally tight. The companies plan together how the products could be made more desirable, durable and inexpensive.

In practice, we can say that Ouman is Harvia’s product development department for electronics. The OEM partnership has developed into an ODM relationship.

”A mere idea is actually enough for us,” Manneros says. ”We can design a product, delivery chain and logistics around it. After this, we will also know the price of the product.”

In addition to sauna electronics, Ouman designs and manufactures for its OEM customers thermostats for the rooms’ heating systems, ventilation and heat pumps. The service range also includes temperature sensors and controls for household appliances.

The mid-sized moves faster

A mid-sized Finnish company can react to the changing needs of customers faster than Asia’s large mass producers. Many development versions of one product can be made during its lifecycle, and new versions can quickly be introduced in production and sales.

”We do well with flexibility, quality and delivery reliability,” Manneros says. Companies also compete with price. It must be appropriate considering the quality of activities. ”Of course we also have to deal with cost pressures, Manneros says. Similar but cheaper goods are constantly coming through from Asia. We will do everything that is humanly possible, so that our product is better.”

Harvia: Together to the top of the world was last modified: February 19th, 2015 by Ouman Oy

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Ouman directs energy conservation in Stockholm

Published: 19.2.2015 Author: Ouman Oy

”The planning by Swedish housing companies was very shortsighted”

Swedish housing companies have decided to stop losing money. They are influenced by the decision by the Swedish government that obligates housing companies to cut a fifth of their energy use.

Now it is easy to say that this work should have been started already years ago. Energy efficient technology has showed it claws. In many places, expectations have been surpassed. Big Stockholm-based housing companies have been able to cut even up to a half of their energy costs.

One of the best cases is Brf Ånghästen in the Södermalm district. It has 242 apartments. Ånghästen’s new building technology is controlled by Finnish building automation.
”We built a complete Ounet system there,” says Jari Komulainen (pictured), who is Ouman’s local representative in Stockholm. ”The housing company saves about 800,000 crowns this year, even up to a fifth more than we promised.”

Ånghästen still receives a significant share of its heat from the city’s district heating network. District heating is, however, needed half as much as previously: seven heat pumps take heat from the exhaust air and return energy to the radiator network. Ouflex regulators give orders to new pumps and blowers. The Värmevakt heat guard controls the distribution of heat.

Automation works in the cloud. The entity is the biggest individual Ouman building automation project ever.

”The system works very well,” says Komulainen. ”Ouman is a good partner for us, because it’s not too big. The Finnish product developers listen to us and quickly develop solutions for various situations. We can’t do something like this with Schneider or Siemens.”

Namesake of the president’s former son-in-law

Jari Komulainen is an entrepreneur and managing director, whose Cistes Energi company executes comprehensive energy efficiency projects for properties in the greater Stockholm area. Komulainen is also a Finnish Swede and a citizen of two countries, who speaks only a little of his mother tongue – and for a reason he has had no control over, he is also the namesake of the former son-in-law of Finland’s president.

”I don’t know him, but of course I’ve heard of him,” Komulainen laughs shortly. ”A businessman, who has had both ups and downs.”

The turnover of Cistes will grow to 4,5 million euros this year. Jari Komulainen believes that sales can grow fivefold within 3-4 years.

”This year, we will expand our business operations all over Sweden. The demand for energy efficient solutions has grown enormously big, because the Swedish government recently enacted a new law, according to which the energy consumption of properties must be dropped 20 per cent by 2020 from the level of 2008. This means approximately one billion worth of investments per year.”

Energy conservation also interests the public sector. At the moment, Cistes is negotiating with the city of Nynäshamn located south of Stockholm about a big building automation project. Komulainen believes all schools in Nynäshamn should be connected to Ounet.

Lost, but did not care

Jari Komulainen says that most of the Swedish housing companies have understood their own interest only when they have been forced to.

”The decision-makers in housing companies are amateurs and their decision-making has been very shortsighted. A five-year time span is typically the maximum. Usually, the owners think that why should I put money into repairs, if I’ll sell the apartment in the next few years anyway. They haven’t cared that they lose money every year.”

Komulainen well understands the inhabitants’ reluctance to take out big loans. For that reason, Cistes offers housing companies a financing solution, which is based on sharing savings achieved through new technology.

Costs for the housing company? Not a crown. Cistes arranges financing, pays the bills and takes a share of the project’s profit.

Ouman directs energy conservation in Stockholm was last modified: February 19th, 2015 by Ouman Oy

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A housing company needs sharp brains

Published: 19.2.2015 Author: Ouman Oy

A Soviet-Union era colossus underwent rejuvenation – the result is nearly 65 per cent savings in energy costs

There can be many opinions about outward appearance, but inner beauty is indisputable.

Sopruse 202 received a new future, when a complete energy efficiency renovation was done in the building. The energy bill of the apartment building located in Tallinn’s Mustamäki has dropped near 65 per cent. Living conditions have improved markedly. Ventilation works, and heat is evenly distributed.

”This building is like a pearl in an ironing board store,” says Aivar Paabo proudly.

The company Profener owned by Paabo is a service provider, who is responsible for the monitoring and control of Sopruse’s building technology.

”The different sectors of building technology are like top artists, who need a competent conductor to lead them,” says Paabo. ”Automation is that conductor.”

Sopruse 202 rose in the Mustamäki suburb in 1971, when the Soviet Union was at the height of its powers. Exceptionally, the building material was brick.

Modern buildings were constructed for the workers quickly and efficiently. In the Sopruse area, many similar long cubes were made. The man responsible for their planning was the famous architect Raine Karp – the same man who was also drawing the headquarters of the central committee of Estonia’s Communist Party.

There are some 20,000 buildings similar to Sopruse 202 in Estonia. Approximately half of them will be or already have been condemned. The rest are kept and as many as possible are completely renovated. Similar decisions will have to be made also in crumbling suburbs in the other Baltic countries and Finland and Sweden.

With insulation and heat pumps

Sopruse 202’s renovations were begun with insulation. 150 mm EPS insulation plates were put on the walls and 300 mm of wool was put on the ceiling. Ventilation machines were renewed and three powerful exhaust air heat pumps were attached to the ventilation. Aivar Paabo says that Sopruse still also uses district heating – but only during the coldest days.

”The investment was expensive of course, nearly 2,1 million euros, and the housing company had to take out a big loan. In practice, however, it’s managed easily. The money that we now save on energy bills is used toward loan installments. The maintenance fee is the same as before.”

Extensive state aid speeded up the Sopruse project. Estonia uses the millions it has earned through emissions trading on energy saving projects.

Not even a large amount of money, however, will guarantee that the investment is successful. According to Paabo, Sopruse 202’s neighboring building Sopruse 244 underwent a similar renovation, but the savings fell clearly short of the goal and the achievements of 202.

The matter finally became clear, and the automation system was located as the cause. The programming of its operating logic had failed, and operations were not actively monitored after its introduction. The problem has now been fixed by Profener.

”Nobody noticed when the heat pumps acted up. The building did stay warm, as it received the energy it needed from the district heating network. This, however, became expensive for the owners.”

Don’t save on automation

Aivar Paabo recommends for housing companies to always choose the best possible automation system, so that the problems described above can be avoided. Important criteria are intelligence, reliability and compatibility with both modern and future devices.

Sopruse 202’s systems are monitored by seven actuators, which send their information wirelessly to a cloud service. Ouflex actuators and the cloud service Ounet come from the Finnish Ouman. The price of the top-quality automation delivery remained at 4,000 euros. It is a slight expense compared to the price of the whole effort.

”Previously, maintenance men came to the premises to check that everything was alright. These were fairly simplistic actions in the light of modern times. A cloud service saves both time and money. The operator can monitor up to a hundred sites at the same time, and do it without getting up from his chair, which could be located even in the Bahamas.”

Profener began cooperation with Ouman in early 2014. In a short time period, Aivar Paabo has sold the Ouflex and Ounet automation system to 30 housing companies. The short-term goal is 100 customers, and there is no limit to the growth. Restrictions and roadblocks, on the other hand, are plentiful.

”Indeed, a housing company is like a collective farm,” Paabo says. ”And the housing company is managed by people my age who believe that under no circumstances should they take out a bank loan. Young people understand the logic of energy renovations, but boards and general meetings are controlled by old people.”

The most efficient way to influence is neighbor envy, even in Estonia. Paabo organizes seminars for opposition groups in housing companies, in which people familiarize themselves with achievements by pioneers from nearby areas.

”Indeed, in many places this is like pushing with a rope. But the big masses are understanding the matter, and when the mass moves, nothing stops it.”

A housing company needs sharp brains was last modified: February 19th, 2015 by Ouman Oy

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Ouman HeatGuard for all properties using district heat

Published: 19.12.2013 Author: Ouman Oy

Kotikulma in Riihimäki is a company that manages the rental apartments of the city. During the last year, Ouman HeatGuard was installed to all properties of the company utilizing district heat.

”Investing on environmental matters has been a strategic choice by the city of Riihimäki already from the beginning of 1990s. The city has signed an energy efficiency contract with Ministry of Employment and the economy for 2008–2016. The city is boosting its energy consumption by avoiding unnecessary energy consumption, by improving the energy efficiency and monitoring the energy consumption in its own operations.”*

Because the energy efficiency is the interest of the whole city, it feels natural that Ouman woke up the CEO of Riihimäki’s tenant houses a real estate fair already a couple of years ago. Encouraged by the first tests, Ouman HeatGuard was installed to all properties of the company in district heating, a total of nearly 30 housing companies.

*Reference: The environmental report of the city of Riihimäki 2012.

Experiences boost up decision making

hieres (5)_1200x800

”In the first year we wanted to start carefully and Ouman HeatGuard was installed to a few properties” recalls the Kotikulma’s CEO Heikki Mattila about the start of the cooperation. Already during the first heating period the experiences were encouraging and ensured the decision makers of the city.

Calculations based on the first year’s experiences indicated that Ouman HeatGuards paid themselves back already in two years. Therefore, they decided to install the system also to other properties in the district heat network of the company. Now the total area of properties utilizing the Ouman HeatGuard at Riihimäki’s Kotikulma is approximately 30 000 square metres. There are different sizes of apartment houses and terrace house companies among the sites. Oldest of the sites are from the 19060s, the newest are 10 years old.

Saving is the sum of many items

In the energy saving framework of the city of Riihimäki, Kotikulma had taken other measures regarding the heating and ventilation equipment already before. Nearly all sites had also heating automation that is compatible with Ouman’s HeatGuard. ”We had to change radiator valves in some of the sites as well as their thermostats when making the installations” says Mattila.

When installing a Ouman HeatGuard, the line adjustments are controlled, the heating network is balanced when needed and the equipment is renewed when needed. The created total saving is often the sum of many factors. ”We had made proactive basic savings already a few years earlier. But I believe that the installation of Ouman’s HeatGuard was a good start for observing individual things”, says Mattila.

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Savings to benefit residents

”When the results are handled in tenant meetings, the residents realize that energy saving is one way to limit the increase of rents”, Mattila says. The savings produced by Ouman HeatGuard at Riihimäki’s Kotikulma are directed to other repairs of the property: ”Our sites are already so old that other renovations need to be made. When savings are directed to the repair work, the benefit of the saving is returned to the residents.”

Ouman HeatGuard for all properties using district heat was last modified: September 2nd, 2014 by Ouman Oy

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Rationalizing heating is an effortless way to save in a housing company

Published: 19.12.2013 Author: Ouman Oy

J-Isännöinti started saving energy with the help of Ouman’s savings survey. Jani Oförsagd, the CEO and real estate manager of J-Isännöinti, is convinced of the optimization of the heating energy by Ouman’s HeatGuard. J-Isännöinti’s client companies have reached significant results with Ouman.

J-Isännöinti from Naantali had cooperated with Ouman for a year by autumn 2013. Ouman HeatGuard was installed already to seven client companies of which six were normal apartment houses and one as a three-apartment terrace house. The total area of the housing companies is over 15 000 square metres.

Energy saving is along the general discussion a hot topic also in the housing companies. When Ouman wanted to hear J-Isännöinti’s interest to hear more about energy savings, the response was enthusiastic: ”Why not! Of course we are interested,” recalls Jani Oförsagd, the CEO of J-Isännöinti and real estate manager. They decided to arrange two energy saving events, to which they invited all representatives of the J-Isännöinti’s client companies.

A saving survey points out the needs for changes


After the energy saving night Ouman realized a savings survey in all those housing companies that were interested in purchasing an Ouman HeatGuard. The energy survey examined the thermal control systems and related equipment of the entire housing complex. The condition of the equipment was checked and other possible basic improvements recorded in the survey and detailed in a proposal for action.

”We discovered in one location that the radiator valves and their thermostats were so old that they had to be replaced.” When the situation was discovered before the purchase of Ouman HeatGuard, and costs were presented as a part of the entity, the housing properties did not experience any surprises. Also Oförsagd is satisfied with the procedure: ”It makes perfect sense to install the required purchases for the Ouman HeatGuard so as to optimize these with the necessary repairs.”

Newest experiences

The first Ouman HeatGuards were installed to the J-Isännöinti’s customer companies in November-December 2012. Among the experiences of the year, there are success stories and more challenging cases. ”In some housing companies the saving percent was very close to what Ouman had reported, in others they remained below the average”, Oförsagd sums up.

In housing companies where the savings targets have not yet been realized, they have started the investigations with Ouman. The target was to analyse the entity and find out the reasons why they were behind the targets. ”We did not mean to freeze anyone with our savings!” Oförsagd says.

Optimal solution for a housing company


Jani Oförsagd is convinced of the functionality of Ouman HeatGuard and the benefits it provides: ”With my experiences I can recommend HeatGuard!” However, the housing companies should observe the heating and temperatures of the properties as an entity, which are influenced by earlier and future renovations and solutions.

”I would recommend Ouman HeatGuard for 70s-80s properties in the first place. I would see that they have the biggest opportunities to create good savings,” says Oförsagd. In order to set targets and to reach them it is important to observe, at what level the energy efficiency of the properties is at the initial point.

Rationalizing heating is an effortless way to save in a housing company was last modified: September 2nd, 2014 by Ouman Oy

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The owner gets more with Ouman HeatGuard

Published: 19.12.2013 Author: Ouman Oy

ICECAPITAL is a group that concentrates on investment bank operations and real estate funds. Apartment houses owned by Icecapital have clearly benefited from Ouman HeatGuard.

(C) Maija Tallavaara

(C) Maija Tallavaara

”Yesterday we were looking at the situation in couple of places and we noticed that the benefits have been significant even for a short time,” says ICECAPITAL’s Property Director Juha Haapakoski. The first Ouman HeatGuards were installed to the sites owned by ICECAPITAL about a year ago and they have made more installed more along the year.

The decision about the first installations was based on ICECAPITAL’s willingness to optimize the use of the properties. The decision making was accelerated by the risk-free investment. ”The people from Ouman promised to dismantle the equipment without extra costs if they didn’t make any savings. The installation was completely risk-free for us”, recalls Haapakoski. Now they have found out that they do not need to dismantle the equipment and the investment pays itself back, including the installation work, already in a couple of years.

Income from savings

ICECAPITAL’ real estate fund operation concentrates on building and developing properties. The companies administrating real estate funds are responsible for the buying and selling of properties, the purchase of administration, financial organisation and renting services of properties and the monitoring and the conservation and increases of values of properties. ICECAPITAL’s strengths in real estate financing are e.g. optimizing property-specific operation.

(C) Maija Tallavaara

(C) Maija Tallavaara

”My responsibility is to maintain properties and guarantee their functions” ,Haapakoski clarifies his own role in cooperation with Ouman. Because all ICECAPITAL’s sites are quite new apartment houses, also the planning ordinances and general discussion on the importance of green value are influential. The most important reason for implementing the Ouman HeatGuard was to cut down the costs created by the use of the properties. ”When the costs can be cut down, the income from the rent stays with eh owner more easily” , Haapakoski says.

More constant heat, better profit

The ICECAPITAL’s sites are all rental housing companies. Property managers have given positive feedback for decreasing the heating costs but there are no comments from individual residents. ”Residents may not even notice the use of Ouman HeatGuard other than a more constant heat”, says Haapakoski.

When asking about the recommendation, Haapakoski says without hesitation: ”I would definitely recommend it. First, I think about the owners of large rental house properties, such as Sato and VVO.” After a while, Haapakoski is ready to expend his recommendation also for municipal rental housing companies and why not to each property owner who wants to gain bigger profits from their sites.

(C) Maija Tallavaara

(C) Maija Tallavaara

The owner gets more with Ouman HeatGuard was last modified: September 2nd, 2014 by Ouman Oy

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