More ambition and transparency – MuniFin’s renewed Green Bond Framework has been published

Since the issuance of MuniFin’s first green bond in 2016, the sustainable bond market has been going through a lot of changes.

“The new framework has been developed to better address the current environmental challenges and to take new regulation, such as the EU Taxonomy and the proposed Green Bond Standard, into account”, says Sustainability Manager Kalle Kinnunen.

The new regulations have been used as guiding tools in defining the eligibility criteria. MuniFin has also mapped its project categories to the EU taxonomy activities.

“With this update, we now have firmer and more transparent eligibility criteria”, Kinnunen says.

The revision also involved some streamlining. There are now four project categories instead of seven: buildings, transportation, renewable energy as well as water and waste water management.

An important addition to the framework is the possibility to finance biodiversity and climate change adaptation projects. They were added as sub-categories.

“For example, green roofs or flood barriers, could have been financed as a part of building projects before but with this addition we wanted to facilitate such investments directly. In addition, the new framework allows us to provide more transparency on the impact of the projects”, Kinnunen explains.

These updates along with the strengthened internal resources allowed changes to the evaluation and selection process. In the past, MuniFin has relied on the external Green Evaluation Team, but now the evaluation and selection of green finance projects will be conducted by MuniFin’s own sustainability experts.

“This change would not have been possible without the years of valuable experience we have gained working with the external Green Evaluation Team. The new evaluation and selection process allows us to serve our customers more flexibly at the time of their financing needs. We will not compromise the scrutiny of evaluation and selection. On the contrary, the transparent criteria ensure the quality of approved green projects. As the market evolves, it will also be more straightforward to introduce additional criteria”, Kinnunen says.

MuniFin is open for dialogue with customers, investors and other stakeholders in order to enhance the framework and practices further.

“Our customers play a key role in achieving Finland’s goal of climate neutrality by 2035. Green finance is an important way to promote their green projects and we will keep adding ambition also in the future”, Kinnunen says.

External review

Cicero Shades of Green has provided an external review for the Green Bond Framework, including an assessment of the EU Taxonomy alignment. MuniFin managed to keep the Medium Green shading and even to raise the Governance score to Excellent.

There will also be an annual post-issuance review that confirms that the green bond proceeds have been allocated to eligible green finance projects.

The framework and the second party opinion are available here:

More information

Karoliina Kajova – Senior Manager, Funding

+358 50 5767 707

Kalle Kinnunen – Sustainability Manager, Funding and Sustainability

+358 400 489 425

MuniFin’s economic forecast Q3/2022: After a surprisingly strong year the Finnish economy is sliding into a slight recession

The effects of the Russian war on Ukraine have hit the Finnish economy slower than feared, but as the war drags on, it will inevitably affect the everyday lives of people more and more.

MuniFin’s Chief Economist Timo Vesala lists the reasons behind the economic downturn: “The positive developments in employment are grinding to a halt, and real wages are falling faster than ever since the late 1970s. Consumer purchasing power is taking hits from multiple angles at once: electricity bills and food expenses are skyrocketing and many people with a mortgage are facing manifold interest costs. Rising interest rates are weakening the prospects of the housing market and construction sector, and after a very busy period, the volume of construction investments is likely to fall next year.”

At the same time, the entire world economy has become significantly more volatile.

“The US and European central banks have signalled that they will keep raising interest rates for the time being, regardless of how fast growth expectations will fall. Judging by the ECB’s communication, it seems that its deposit rate will rise to approximately 1.25–1.50% by the end of the year. After rapid interest rate hikes, the rate of increase is expected to either slow down or even stop altogether next year if the economy slides into a deep recession. In any case, interest rate cuts remain unlikely until inflation has reliably returned to the target level of 2%”, Vesala explains.

Finland’s economy already in slight recession

Finland is likely to have already entered a period of mild economic recession. MuniFin’s economic forecast is based on a scenario in which Finland’s GDP will contract in the latter half of 2022 and the factors affecting demand will continue to weaken long into 2023.

MuniFin nevertheless maintains its GDP forecast for the ongoing year at 1.5%. The strong initial level of total production and the surprisingly good development in the first half of the year mean that the overall GDP growth in 2022 will be positive despite some negative quarters.

The year 2023 is expected to start with negative growth transferred from 2022, which significantly weakens expectations for GDP growth. MuniFin has therefore lowered its GDP forecast for 2023 to ‑0.5%. MuniFin expects economic recovery to begin in the second half of 2023, which will create a better starting point for the following year. MuniFin forecasts a GDP growth of 1.5% for 2024.

MuniFin’s estimate for the average unemployment rate for 2022 remains at 6.8%. Due to the economic downturn, it is estimated to rise to 7.4% in 2023 and settle at 7.3% in 2024.

Effects of the energy crisis impossible to predict

MuniFin’s forecast for Finland’s average rate of inflation in 2022 stands at 6.7%. The inflation peak will eventually subside as demand fades, but price hikes may not level out until next spring.

In Europe, the massive increase in energy costs combined with the weak euro are creating widespread upward pressure on prices, and the much-awaited decline in inflation is being pushed into the distant future.

“Electricity prices will be extremely uncertain in the coming months, which makes inflation difficult to predict. In the worst-case scenarios, the steep price of electricity can have a dramatic effect on consumer prices”, Vesala notes.

MuniFin prepared to offer financing to municipalities that own energy companies

MuniFin is also prepared for a rapid escalation of the energy crisis. Municipal energy companies are responsible for a significant part of Finland’s energy production, and their collateral requirements are a risk to the continuity of operations.

“We stand ready to offer financing to municipalities that own energy companies in order to ensure their continued operations. We will be able to meet the demand for funding even if it spikes significantly. We have always had a strong liquidity buffer and we increased it even more because of the Russian aggression. It is a precautionary measure for unexpected situations such as this one”, says Esa Kallio, MuniFin’s CEO.

Due to EU rules on state aid, MuniFin cannot, at least for the time being, finance municipal energy companies operating in competitive markets. MuniFin’s funding is therefore directed to the municipal owners of energy companies instead.

Additional information:

Timo Vesala, Chief Economist
tel. +358 50 5320 702

Esa Kallio, CEO
tel. +358 50 3377 953

Soili Helminen, Communications Manager
tel. +358 400 204 853

MuniFin looks to finance municipal energy companies to strengthen the security of supply

MuniFin’s funding is guaranteed by the Municipal Guarantee Board (MGB). On 7 September 2022, the MGB decided to submit a notification to the European Commission seeking for permission to use funding guaranteed by the MGB to grant loans to energy companies controlled by Finnish municipalities. This arrangement will strengthen Finland’s security of supply by ensuring that energy companies are able to keep operating despite the unusual circumstances. If the Commission accepts the arrangement, MuniFin can grant loans directly to the energy companies.

The Municipal Guarantee Board (MGB) will submit its notification to the European Commission in cooperation with MuniFin and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment. The current circumstances in the energy markets have led to a situation where the supply of energy has fallen substantially, leading to sharply increasing collateral requirements on derivatives used by energy companies. This severely endangers the continuity of their operations.

MuniFin has already announced that it stands ready to quickly start providing financing for municipalities that own energy companies to ensure the continuity of energy production. So far, EU rules on state aid have mostly prohibited MuniFin from directly financing energy companies operating in competitive markets. Financing of municipal energy companies will be established based on MuniFin’s standard business model, and thus possible loans to energy companies will still require a 100% municipal guarantee, as is required for any other company loans by MuniFin.

“The spiralling collateral requirements in the electricity market and the reduced energy supply have together created a crisis and given rise to a need to ensure the availability of essential services for citizens. Under the circumstances, we consider the proposed arrangement to be in accordance with competition laws”, says Esa Kallio, MuniFin’s CEO.

Measured by its balance sheet, MuniFin is one of Finland’s largest credit institutions. It has been able to continue its international funding operations also under exceptional circumstances, for example during the start of the Russian war on Ukraine, the COVID pandemic and the financial crisis.

MuniFin has never recognised any final credit losses in its customer financing. The purpose of banks’ international capital regulation is to minimise the risks related to banking operations. MuniFin’s CET1 capital exceeds the ECB’s requirements by more than six times.

“It is difficult to estimate how long the Commission will take to process the notification. The timeline will also depend on whether the MGB or MuniFin will be required to provide further information”, Kallio notes.

MuniFin’s funding is guaranteed by the Municipal Guarantee Board (MGB), a public law institution operating under the Act on the Municipal Guarantee Board (487/1996). The MGB’s members consist of all municipalities in mainland Finland.

MuniFin kick-starts funding fall by returning to USD market

On 17 August 2022, MuniFin priced a 5-year USD 1 billion benchmark. The transaction extends MuniFin’s strategic USD curve to August 2027. The previous USD benchmark was issued in August last year. 

Taking advantage of the first viable transaction window after the summer holidays, MuniFin opened the books at 8:15 GMT. Investor engagement was strong from the outset and the books were finally closed at 15:15, in excess of USD 1.15 billion. The transaction pays an annual coupon of 3.25% and a spread of SOFR MS +52bps.  

The final high-quality orderbook had nearly 90% participation from central banks, banks and other official institutions. Geographically, 38% of the investors were from Europe (excluding Nordics), followed by Americas at 32%. Nordics took 17% of the final orderbook.

“This transaction was strategically important to us in terms of extending our existing USD curve. Despite the somewhat challenging market backdrop, we were able to attract very high-quality investors thanks to our strong investor base”, says Manager Miia Palviainen from MuniFin funding team. 

Transaction details 

Issuer: Municipality Finance Plc (“MuniFin”) 
Ratings: Aa1 / AA+ (both Stable) by Moody’s / S&P 
Format: RegS/144A 
Size: USD 1 billion 
Pricing Date: 17th August 2022 
Payment Date: 24th August 2022 
Maturity Date: 24th August 2027 
Coupon: 3.25%, Fixed, semi-annual, 30/360 
Reoffer Spread: SOFR MS + 52 bps | CT5 +28.5 bps 
Joint Bookrunners: BMO / Barclays / Citi / Daiwa 

Comments from the bookrunners

“Congratulations to MuniFin for the successful new 5-year benchmark, taking its place amongst the other leading SSA issuers reopening the USD market in the middle of August. The issuer moved smartly into the recent recovery in demand and confidence in the USD rates market, securing a high quality final orderbook and confirming the continued support of its global investor base.”  

Lee Cumbes, Head of EMEA DCM, Barclays 

“Congratulations to the MuniFin team for their USD 1bn 5Y benchmark which comes after 12 months after their last USD fixed rate outing. The MuniFin team was quick in seizing a late summer issuance window to be an early mover, taking advantage of the lack of supply over the summer weeks and the expected busy USD pipeline ahead.”  

Massimo Antonelli, Managing Director, BMO Capital Markets 

“Citi is delighted to have been part of MuniFin’s first USD benchmark transaction of the year. Despite August traditionally being a quiet month for the SSA market, the MuniFin team has been successful in kick starting its funding program ahead of the Autumn period, taking advantage of the strong USD SSA primary market. Congratulations again to the MuniFin team.”  

Ebba Wexler, Public Sector Origination, Citi 

“Daiwa is delighted to have supported MuniFin in this USD 1bn 5Y benchmark transaction as one of the first issuers in the market post the summer break, and its first venture to the USD market since August 2021. The issuer was able to extend its USD curve by choosing the 5Y tenor, which has been rare outside of tier 1 supranational issuers in recent months.”  

Jez Walsh, Head of Syndicate, Daiwa Capital Markets Europe 

Further information

Joakim Holmström – Executive Vice President, Capital Markets and Sustainability

+358 50 4443 638 

Antti Kontio – Head of Funding and Sustainability

+358 50 3700 285

Karoliina Kajova – Senior Manager, Funding

+358 50 5767 707

Miia Palviainen – Manager, Funding

+358 50 5980 829

Lari Toppinen – Analyst, Funding

+358 50 4079 300

MuniFin Group published its Half Year Report for January–June 2022: Business remained stable despite turbulent operating environment

MuniFin’s net operating profit excluding unrealised fair value changes amounted to EUR 74 million in the first half of the year. A year before the figure was a record-high EUR 108 million. This year’s drop was expected, as it was influenced by the change in credit terms applied in late 2021.

New lending in January–June amounted to approximately EUR 2 billion and the long-term customer financing excluding fair value changes grew by 2.6% and totalled EUR 29.8 billion.

The amount of green finance aimed at environmentally sustainable investments totalled EUR 2,700 million (EUR 2,328 million) and the amount of social finance aimed at investments promoting equality and communality EUR 1,296 million (EUR 1,161 million) at the end of June.

In January–June, new long-term funding reached EUR 5,962 million (EUR 6,025 million). Group’s consolidated statement of financial position grew to EUR 47.5 billion.

– The pandemic has transformed our lives into something that is predicted to become the new normal, but the outlook has become even murkier than expected after the war broke out in Europe. Amidst all this uncertainty, it is important to note that at MuniFin, we work hard every day to create stability in these uncertain times and to ensure smooth operations for all our customers, notes Esa Kallio, President and CEO at MuniFin.

At the end of June, the MuniFin’s capital ratio was very strong. The Group will also publish a separate Pillar III Report on risk management and capital adequacy on August 8.

MuniFin’s economic forecast Q2/2022: The Finnish economy faces the future from a strong basis despite the challenging outlook

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has fundamentally changed the outlook of the Finnish economy. Not only has consumer confidence weakened, but the business expectations have also taken a slight downward turn. Despite the challenging outlook, the Finnish economy is facing the future from a better position than it did when the COVID pandemic hit, and the future NATO membership should help to clarify Finland’s security position.

Rising costs and interest rates are overshadowing the economy and the construction sector in particular. In general, the operating environment is now far from optimal for investments. Finland’s future NATO membership should help to clarify Finland’s security position and strengthen confidence in Finland as a safe target for investments in the long run.

Weakening purchasing power poses the greatest risk

Despite the challenging outlook, the Finnish economy is facing the future from a better position than it did when the COVID pandemic hit.

The service sector has revitalised after restrictions were lifted, and many industries still have  strong orderbooks so industrial production is expected to keep growing at least for the rest of the year. The growing trend in employment has continued despite the war in Ukraine, and the employment rate has already risen to around 74%. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has fallen close to 6% and is now at its lowest level since 2008.

The biggest uncertainty factor in domestic economy is the accelerating inflation and its effect on domestic consumer demand. In January–March, the real income of full-time employees decreased by 2.7% from the previous year. Such a drop in real income has not been seen in Finland since the late 1970s.

To some extent, consumer price inflation is driven by a change in relative prices, to which households can adjust by changing their consumption habits, but the majority of the cost pressure comes from rising prices of necessities, such as food, fuel and housing. Debtors’ interest expenses are also on a rise. Some households have additional pandemic savings, which may mitigate the effects of their declining purchasing power to some extent.

GDP will grow moderately in 2022, but 2023 is looking highly uncertain

The Finnish economy is relatively strong, but the growth outlook is bound to deteriorate because of the war in Ukraine, the rising inflation and the rapidly tightening monetary policy. The Finnish GDP is expected to grow very little during the rest of the year, and negative quarters are also possible.

Thanks to last year’s strong growth trend, however, the Finnish GDP is expected to reach an overall growth of 1.5% for 2022. The next year, on the other hand, is expected to be more difficult: our current estimate for GDP growth in 2023 stands at 0.5%, and that, too, requires that the economy starts to recover during 2023.

The weakening economic outlook also affects employment growth. The share of hard-to-fill vacancies is higher than during previous cyclical peaks, and talent shortage is so serious a problem that it limits recruitment in itself. Nevertheless, due to the recent sharp decrease in unemployment, we have lowered our estimate of the overall unemployment rate. We now expect it to average around 6.8% for both this year and the next.

It now seems that inflation will not relent until early 2023. We expect Finnish consumer price inflation to stand at 5.5% in 2022 and at 2.5% in 2023.

This summary of MuniFin’s Economic Forecast (only available in Finnish) is written by Timo Vesala, Chief Economist, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Economics.

MuniFin’s company culture now in one book

The idea for the culture book was sparked last spring, when it turned out that the different descriptions of MuniFin’s working culture and practices were spread out across different documents. At first, the goal was simply to compile all the relevant documents in one place, but along the way, this work transformed into a culture handbook.

“We invited all MuniFin employees to participate in the work. The culture book is a result of the collaboration of various experts across the organisation”, says Tiina Lammi, Communications and HR Development Specialist at MuniFin.

As the head of company culture development at MuniFin, Lammi has been involved in the creation of the culture book from the start. Through a collaborative process, the MuniFin team distilled the company’s cultural cornerstones into communality and team spirit, transparency and trust, and sustainability and social significance.

“We want these three cornerstones to be our guiding principles in all our work”, Lammi says.

An important role in society brings people together

Lammi started out at MuniFin as an assistant in 2011. Her career path spans more than a decade and exemplifies the kind of employer MuniFin is and strives to be.

“MuniFin has a very strong company spirit. Even though a lot of new people have joined the company during my time here, MuniFin has been able to keep that small business feel. I’m very grateful that I’ve had the chance to take on exciting new roles. We have a real opportunity to shape our job descriptions, and that is extremely valuable for employees”, Lammi commends her employer.

“People here are used to our flat hierarchy, and everyone is easy to approach. Despite our growth in recent years, we are still very much one team and closely involved in cultural work”, notes Jukka Leppänen, Head of Customer Relations at MuniFin.

The single most important factor that unites MuniFin employees is the company’s significant role in society. MuniFin is a small community with a big impact.

“Our work touches the lives of all Finns. We finance hospitals, schools, day-care centres, affordable rental housing, public transport solutions and a whole host of other projects. We help build a more sustainable and equal Finland. For many of us, this is the most important reason for coming to work every morning”, Leppänen explains.

The culture book is by no means the end of MuniFin’s cultural work. In fact, strengthening the company’s culture is a written-down objective for 2022 across different levels of the organisation.

“Of course, hybrid work makes it more challenging for employees everywhere, also at MuniFin, to commit to their organisation and its culture. We are constantly looking for new ways to preserve and bolster our culture together with our employees”, Lammi says.

Leppänen emphasises the importance of inclusion and everyone’s responsibility in culture building.

“Companies can change their strategy and vision quickly, but it takes time to build and shape the company culture. The management alone cannot dictate or define the company culture, but it does have a particularly strong role in creating it.”

First green bond this year a hit among ESG investors despite a challenging market backdrop

On 10 May 2022 MuniFin priced an EUR 500 million fixed-rate green benchmark due 17 May 2029. Utilizing a supportive issuance window and a strong demand for green assets, MuniFin opened books at 8:15 London time with price guidance at mid-swaps –8bs area. The limit was fixed to EUR 500 million.

The demand was strong from the outset and just in two hours the spread was tightened by 3bps. Shortly after, the books were closed in excess of EUR 1.4 billion. The transaction pays a coupon of 1.5% (annual) and a spread of mid-swaps – 11bps.

The transaction attracted a significant amount of ESG investors: nearly 80% of the final orderbook went to green investors. Central banks and official institutions took 38%, Asset managers 24% and bank treasuries 22%. Geographically; Germany, Austria and Switzerland took 24%, followed by BeNeLux at 23% and Nordics at 16%.

“The multiple times oversubscribed transaction shows us, once again, how solid our investor base truly is. Despite the volatile atmosphere in the market, our green bond attracted also brand new investors.  We are extremely pleased with the outcome and especially the great support from the ESG investor community”, says Analyst Lari Toppinen from MuniFin funding team.

Finance for Finland’s green transition

MuniFin has offered its customers green finance for sustainable investments since 2016. Funding for green projects is sourced by issuing green bonds. For investors, MuniFin’s green bonds offer a way to finance positive impacts through carefully selected projects in e.g. sustainable building, public transportation and renewable energy categories.

Read more about our green bonds

Transaction details

Issuer:Municipality Finance Plc (“MuniFin”)
Ratings:Aa1 / AA+ (both Stable) by Moody’s / S&P
Size:EUR 500,000,000
Coupon:1.5% annual, Actual/Actual (ICMA), following unadjusted
Pricing Date:10th May 2022
Payment Date:17th May 2022
Maturity Date:17th May 2029
Mid Swap Spread:-11bps
Joint Bookrunners:BNPP, Danske Bank, NatWest, SEB

Comments from bookrunners

“Congratulations to the MuniFin team for successfully launching their second EUR benchmark and first green bond of 2022. To execute such a solid transaction given the volatile market backdrop is a strong testimony of Munifin’s ability to build a strong and diversified investor following.”

Salma Guerich, DCM SSA, BNPP

“Congratulations to MuniFin on their highly impressive return to the EUR Green Bond market. With final pricing through fair value and a large and high quality orderbook in challenging market conditions, this truly demonstrates the strength of the credit and the support that MuniFin enjoys from the ESG focused investor community. Danske Bank is proud to have been part in this successful transaction.”

Axel Zetterblom, SSA Origination, Danske Bank

“A fantastic return to the Green Bond market for MuniFin. The quality of the investor base came through from the outset with investors showing strong support for the first MuniFin Green issuance of 2022. Amidst a more volatile backdrop, the extremely positive reception exemplifies the quality and demand for the MuniFin name, and support for their Green framework. We are very proud to have been involved at NatWest,”

Kerr Finlayson, Head of FBG Syndicate, NatWest

“SEB is delighted to have taken part in MuniFin’s latest triumph in the EUR Green bond market. Despite significant market volatility creating a challenging backdrop, the transaction garnered a high-quality, multiple times subscribed order book, and a final reoffer level through the fair value curve. This is a clear demonstration of MuniFin’s long-standing reputation amongst the ESG investor community.”

Rebekah Bray, Deputy Head of SSA Origination, SEB

Further information

Joakim Holmström – Executive Vice President, Capital Markets and Sustainability

+358 50 4443 638 

Antti Kontio – Head of Funding and Sustainability

+358 50 3700 285

Karoliina Kajova – Senior Manager, Funding

+358 50 5767 707

Miia Palviainen – Manager, Funding

+358 50 5980 829

Lari Toppinen – Analyst, Funding

+358 50 4079 300

The energy-efficient Pirkkala campus: School by day and conference and culture centre by night

Planned for completion in 2025, the Pirkkala campus is an exceptionally large construction project – the largest in the municipality’s history. Pirkkala is one of Finland’s most attractive municipalities in terms of its relative population growth, and the number of its residents recently surpassed 20,000, so the need for a larger campus is urgent.

The construction site is busy with activity. The piling and foundations are already complete, and elements are currently being installed.

“The work is going well and we are right on schedule. The pandemic gave us some problems, but we cleared them without any major delays”, says Matti Juola, project manager at Rapp Valvontakonsultit Oy.

Parts of the adjacent Naistenmatka school, built in the 70s, were demolished to make way for the new campus. The old school building could not have served Pirkkala’s needs even after major renovations.

“Long and narrow corridors are a thing of the past. There was no way to turn the building into a modern school”, comments Timo Orjala, facility services manager at Pirkkala municipality.

Smooth access control is essential in multi-purpose buildings.

Multi-purpose facilities require careful planning

The Pirkkala campus will primarily serve the needs of 1,400 pupils in primary and secondary schools and early childhood education, but all residents will benefit from the new facilities. All campus areas will also be accessible during evenings and weekends. The multi-purpose hall is perfect for sports, and the auditorium doubles as a concert hall and a theatre stage. Special attention has been paid to the sound systems, acoustics and presentation technology on the campus.

The elegantly sleek three-storey building has a brick facade and lots of windows and glass surfaces. The building is not structurally complicated, but a lot of effort has gone into the design of the multi-purpose facilities. To ensure smooth access control, the premises will be equipped with smart locks, which will be programmed with both permanent and one-time access rights.

“A key can grant access to a specific path at a specific time. For example, if the user reserves a multi-purpose room for one night, the control system will change access rights only temporarily. The key will not give access to all premises, but only to the appropriate areas”, Juola explains.

The wishes of many different user groups were heard during the design phase. Plans for the individual facilities have been discussed in several workshops, and more will be organised in the future. The plan is for all groups to benefit.

“The workshops have discussed the facilities at a very detailed level. For example, teachers wanted each classroom to have two washbasins, one with a hand washing tap and one with a kitchen tap”, Juola points out.

“The users know what they need, and the designers know how to make it happen. Bringing them to the same table can achieve the best outcome, but also save time and money. And the plumber won’t have to ponder which type of tap to install in the classroom.”

Conceptual drawing of the cafeteria in Pirkkala campus. The area is in two floors and has a lot of light and long wooden tables,
Many user groups were heard in the design phase.

Consistency across the board is the key to energy efficiency

The campus project was praised by MuniFin’s Green Evaluation Team for its moderate energy consumption and carbon footprint.

“The energy efficiency and carbon footprint of the campus were included as criteria already in the tendering phase and used to compare bids. Municipalities have a strong desire to participate in climate work”, Orjala says.

The new campus will be financed by MuniFin’s property leasing, from which the municipality already has previous experience. Tommi Ruokonen, Pirkkala’s CFO, notes that flexible real estate leasing is well suited for long-term projects, as the financing costs will be distributed evenly and the large loan amount will not strain the municipality’s finances.

Property leasing was the best option for Pirkkala, in part thanks to the margin discount granted for green finance. However, the municipality aims for its new projects to meet the green criteria regardless of the financing method.

“This coincides with our climate goals and will also save the municipality some money”, Ruokonen adds.

The YIT Group will take responsibility for the project’s turnkey contract. YIT’s bid included a comprehensive approach to the environmental aspects of the project. When looking at the entire lifecycle of the buildings, the new campus will consume less than half of the energy of its predecessor.

“The new campus will have geothermal heating and cooling, solar panels and effective heat recovery. We didn’t invent any ground-breaking solutions, but just applied what we already know are tried and tested ways to save energy”, says Janne Hynynen, project manager at YIT.

Juola emphasises that environmental factors must be considered consistently across the board. If they are to be taken from paper to practice, they must not only be accounted for in municipal strategies, but also in the tendering requirements.

According to Juola, the tender process should focus on goals instead of details. In addition to environmental aspects, this type of thinking is also well suited for air quality, electricity consumption, heating, lighting or acoustics, for example.

“The best results are reached when the professionals are given clear goals and a free hand to achieve them”, Juola concludes.

Text: Roope Huotari
Kuvat: BST-Arkkitehdit Oy