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Photo: Lahdelma & Mahlamäki Oy

Ecotechnology

Geothermal heat, solar collectors, a grass-decked roof, self-adjusting air-conditioning and lighting – the environment has been taken into account in every aspect of Haltia. The eco-friendly functioning of the nature centre is based on expert design and the latest ecological solutions. 

Haltia was designed and built according to the principles of sustainable construction, with the objective of minimising the carbon footprint. The environmental perspectives are also catered for in Haltia’s activities.

Eco-friendly starts with design

Haltia has been designed to require as little energy as possible for heating, cooling and lighting. The roundish shape of the building makes its exterior surface area very small in relation to its cubic volume, and the lowest level has been built completely underground. This translates into quite low heat loss. 

The terrace has been positioned so that it casts a shadow over the lower levels, which decreases the need for cooling in summer. The low number of windows further decreases not only the need for cooling but also heat loss. As there is no natural light coming into the exhibition space, the power requirements for exhibition lighting are kept low. 

Haltia’s design has also taken into account the points of the compass and the 24-hour cycle. This brings a natural boost to an effective and eco-friendly heating and lighting system. 

Haltia’s principle building material is wood. The facade materials of wood, copper, natural stone, grass roofing and aspen endure the test of time. The green roofing material also binds carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Diverse uses

Haltia has been designed to serve a multitude of uses. Nearly all of the rooms are easily convertible for varying purposes with, for example, movable partitions and adjustable furnishings. This convertibility combined with long opening hours enable a high utilisation rate for the building. 

Several of Haltia’s rooms have a separate entrance. They facilitate the use of only one room without having to turn on the air-conditioning in the entire building, for example. 

Energy from deep inside the rock

Haltia is heated and cooled by energy from the sun and the earth. As regards heating, the building is 75% self-sufficient, and the self-sufficiency rate of the cooling system is 100%. 

In the summer the building is cooled with the aid of solar energy by transmitting heat into the rock, from where it is again harvested for heating in the winter. Due to the hybrid energy from the rock and the sun, mains electricity is needed for only 25 per cent of heating energy. Haltia uses renewable electricity produced by wind power. 

The active air-conditioning system reacts to the number of people in the building, and the lighting in the restrooms and offices is also dimmed and brightened automatically as needed. In the summer, the building’s service water is heated with energy retrieved from the solar collectors, and the automatic faucets and dry urinals decrease water consumption. All heat emitted by refrigerating apparatus, kitchen appliances and air-conditioning systems is recovered.

Ecological access

Haltia is located in the middle of the Helsinki Metropolitan Area Green Belt, along the main route to Nuuksio, which means that the centre does not increase the need to travel for recreational users of the region’s natural environment. A pedestrian and bicycle way to the centre is about to be finished, and the development of public transport access is currently being negotiated with the transport authority. The objective is to get a direct coach connection from the centre of Helsinki to Haltia. Read more about traffic connections > 

Connection trails from Haltia to the hiking areas in the region are being built and repaired. There is a hiking equipment reservation and rental service in Haltia, and the hiking information service also provides advice on eco-friendly hiking. Read more about hiking > 

There is a bicycle parking site by the main entrance to Haltia. In the future, you will also be able to recharge electric vehicles at Haltia.