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Green finance


Niiralan Kulma emphasises green and societal values in ten new projects

Niiralan Kulma, the largest rental company in Kuopio, invests significantly in sustainable and environmentally friendly living.

Niiralan Kulma’s recent investments adapt to the changing needs of Kuopio. New residents move to the city for work, and they need comfortable homes. Simultaneously Kuopio is preparing for population ageing by building service housing.

“Ten years ago, we talked about affordable, quality housing. Now our strategy has expanded to include responsibility, which must cover environmental and social values,” says Kari Keränen, CEO of Niiralan Kulma.

Seven new apartment buildings are currently financed with MuniFin’s green finance, and three service housing projects have been completed with MuniFin’s social finance.

“When we evaluated long-term interest rates, MuniFin offered the most affordable solution. The margin and the interest rate were lowered because these new projects are green and social.”

Cozy and environmentally friendly homes

Niiralan Kulma is building homes in seven different locations across the city of Kuopio.

“We are planning and building cozy homes that effectively utilise energy-saving technology and renewable energy. Building technology takes into account the by-products of energy. We use geothermal heat, recover heat from wastewater, capture excess energy from mechanical ventilation, and utilise solar energy. It was very important to design the houses to be maintenance-free and long-lasting,” Keränen says.

Many methods are in use to improve environmental friendliness. The new apartments do not have unusable space that requires heating, and there are multiple waste bins in the apartments for recycling.

“In addition to the living spaces, we have invested in bicycle parking and charging points for electric cars. The smallest details are important, for example, with electronic notice boards, no papers have to be printed to inform the residents.”

Service housing for seniors and young adults

Männistön Aimu, which offers rehabilitative service housing for young adults, was completed in early 2020. Next completed in 2022, Liito-orava care home, provides service housing apartments and rental apartments for seniors. Most recently, Levänen service center was opened for residents in October 2023.

“Both the service center and the care home offer 60 places for residents, which are rented by the wellbeing services county of North Savo. They also organise the care needed by seniors.”

Residents were involved in the planning of the service centers, and they as well as the care staff have been satisfied with the end results. Männistön Aimu’s small apartment building is inviting from the outside: unpainted wooden surfaces of the house are environmentally friendly and stand out from the street view.

The costs of these projects were the following: Männistön Aimu is EUR 2.1 million, Liito-orava is EUR 10.2 million and the Levänen service center is EUR 8.7 million.

“We want to thank the staff of MuniFin. We received a lot of help and clear instructions when we needed them. The financing arrangement has been smooth.”

Affordable social housing

The Finnish affordable social housing sector plays a significant role in the development of a sustainable welfare state. In Finland, affordable social housing is mainly provided by municipality-owned companies and nationwide non-profit organisations. MuniFin is the main financier of affordable social housing production in Finland. An increasing amount of housing in Finland is being constructed and financed with consideration for social and environmental factors.

Text: Sara Pitzén
Photo: Niiralan Kulma