”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.