Pontos Group aims for carbon neutrality in its real estate portfolio by 2030

Curbing climate change and preserving the Earth’s bearing capacity are goals shared by the whole world. The global real estate base is the world’s largest asset class. At the same time, real estate and construction make up 40 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions. Owners have a great responsibility for the environmental effects of properties.

Pontos Group has defined the goal of reaching carbon neutrality in its real estate portfolio by 2030. The real estate portfolio’s current holdings focus mainly on Finland and Estonia. Our real estate also includes the sustainable regional development project in Algarve, Portugal.

Carbon neutrality goal of zero emissions in real estate portfolio

Pontos’ carbon neutrality goal includes the following areas:

  • Properties’ use-phase emissions’ (scope 1 and 2) carbon neutrality by 2025, and the entire lifecycle emissions’ (including scope 3) carbon neutrality by 2030.
  • Minimizing properties’ use-phase and project-specific lifecycle emissions in business. The activities aim, above all, to prevent and minimize emissions, and lastly to compensate.
  • Reducing the energy consumption of properties by 15 percent from the 2019 level by 2030. This means an annual reduction of approximately 2 percent in the real estate portfolio’s energy consumption during 2021–2030.

Along with these areas and the utilization of real estate technology, the goal is to have a carbon-neutral real estate portfolio by 2030.

To achieve the carbon neutrality goal, Pontos has laid out an operating model based on active ownership. It defines the conditions for environmental management and measures in the Group. We refer to this with the term Carbon-Neutral Real Estate Portfolio 2030 plan of action.

In addition to Pontos’ real estate portfolio, the plan of action includes those private equity companies in, Pontos’ real estate portfolio that include real estate and construction as significant parts of their business.

This Carbon-Neutral Real Estate Portfolio 2030 website describes this operating model, its guiding principles and central themes defined by Pontos. Cases demonstrate concrete activities portfolio companies have taken around the subject.

What does carbon neutrality mean?

According to Green Building Council Finland (2020), carbon neutrality means a balance between negative and positive environmental effects, i.e. that operations do not have an adverse impact on climate change. A carbon-neutral property is a property with a net-zero lifecycle carbon, i.e. the building does not cause climate effects during its entire lifecycle. Carbon-neutral property use, on the other hand, means that the annual energy consumption has a zero-carbon footprint, and that using the building does not have negative climate effects.

Scopes 1, 2 and 3 – emission definitions

The carbon footprint of a single company has typically been classified according to the Greenhouse Gas Protocol into scope 1, scope 2 and scope 3 emission categories. The categories are based on how emissions are formed in the company. Scope 1 means emission sources within the company’s own control, such as the organization’s own energy production, own and managed properties and vehicles. Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions, such as purchased energy covering electricity, heat and cooling. Scope 3 includes other indirect emissions from the company’s value chain and other operations.

Aiming for the sustainable development of living environments

Sustainable development of living environments as the goal of operations

People are increasingly moving into cities, and they need diverse spaces and services for different life situations. People’s evolving needs challenge cities to respond to these needs. At the same time, climate change is reshaping the operating environment and calling for solutions in society that consider the Earth’s bearing capacity.

The real estate and construction industry is faced with a challenge: how can companies ensure sustainable development in growing cities while also improving their services and boosting their operations?

Pontos wants to promote the sustainable development of the real estate industry. We believe that sustainable development of living environments requires the utilization of technology in the real estate and construction industry.

Combining real estate and construction with technology calls for an understanding of how companies in different industries can use technology at different stages of the property lifecycle. Technology helps to reduce environmental effects, yet it also improves productivity, along with the use and customer experience.

The purpose of Pontos’ Carbon-Neutral Real Estate Portfolio 2030 action plan is to reduce environmental effects through systematic collaboration with portfolio companies. We utilize opportunities offered by technology to achieve carbon neutrality.

Towards carbon neutrality – management accelerates measures

Towards carbon neutrality – environmental management accelerates the Group’s measures in real estate portfolio

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland, approximately 80 percent of greenhouse gases causing climate warming are from energy production and consumption. Technology offers a range of opportunities in the real estate and construction industry, which is one of the slowest industries in embracing digitalization.

Pontos’ carbon neutrality measures are based on the prevention and minimization of emissions and on the utilization of real estate technology. When necessary, the operating model is also complemented by green purchased energy and emission compensation.

Background work as the basis for carbon neutrality goals

Thorough background work has been central in preparing the carbon neutrality operating model. During 2021, Pontos carried out a large-scale assessment of the environmental effects of its portfolio in terms of the existing real estate base and real estate development objects.

Key areas of the project were

  • Identifying energy emission effects;
  • Assessing the contents and impact of ongoing measures planned for reducing energy and emission effects;
  • Identifying central future and long-term measures;
  • Agreeing on the realization of the measures;
  • Assessing the information and features of energy monitoring systems and
  • Surveying energy management model practices.

The action plan based on the assessment aims, in short, to Pontos’ properties not having CO2 emissions during their lifecycle. They use energy efficiently, actively utilize opportunities offered by digitalization, produce as much energy as possible on their own and rely on emission-free green energy.

Mitigation hierarchy as the operating model’s guiding notion

Pontos uses the so-called carbon mitigation hierarchy in structuring its operating model. The model specifies in a concrete way the areas that are most significant in achieving carbon neutrality. The operating model is built around the following areas:

1. Preventing emissions – the property prevents emissions by using as little energy as possible.

Pontos seeks to advance sustainable regional development and utilize technology. The goal is to develop property operations in ways that promote as little energy consumption as possible.

2. Minimizing emissions – the property makes energy consumption as efficient as possible and invests in energy efficiency and locally produces energy production of its own.

Pontos modernizes its existing real estate base, identifies emission reduction areas, makes energy assessments and increases the use of real estate technology.

Energy produced at the property impacts scope 1 emissions, in particular.

3. Supplementary measures – green purchased energy and emission compensation: The property purchases the remaining required energy by purchasing green district heating. It compensates remaining emissions.

Pontos primarily purchases green electricity and district heating produced with renewable resources. Purchased energy impacts especially scope 2 emissions.

Mitigation hierarchy – preventing emissions is key in achieving carbon neutrality

Active ownership and environmental management define portfolio collaboration

Pontos’ goal is to have carbon-neutral scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2025. These emissions involve all the above-mentioned measures. In addition, Pontos aims to have carbon neutrality for all lifecycle emissions (including scope 3) by 2030.

In order to maintain environmental values in its networks, Pontos’ operating model centers on management based on active ownership and collaboration with portfolio companies.

Preventing emissions

Preventing emissions is a priority in properties’ operations

The primary way to achieve carbon neutrality is to prevent emissions entirely in the property’s operations. It has significant importance for achieving carbon neutrality.

The principles related to Pontos’ Neutral Real Estate Portfolio 2030 operating model:

Emission calculations

  • We monitor our properties through our energy monitoring system. We follow, for example, clearly identified key figures and company-specific, unique monitoring indicators and carry out emission calculations for development projects.
  • We set key figures and goals for emission reductions.
  • We develop management models for emission and energy monitoring that aim to ensure efficiency. We utilize personal remuneration systems both within the Group and in our companies as an incentive to improve low-carbon working ways.

Commitments, certifications and agreements

  • We use appropriate commitments and agreements as frameworks for our energy management.
  • We favor environmentally certified investment objects

Utilizing digitalization

  • We invest in companies that promote sustainable development by producing new ways to utilize technology in the real estate and construction industry.
  • We identify and realize use-technical measures. We carry out energy management based on digitalization and artificial intelligence.
  • We promote dialogue with players in the real estate and construction as well as technology industries.
  • We utilize artificial intelligence that optimizes energy consumption in our property management.
  • We carry out pilot projects on sustainable development digitalization in the real estate and construction industry at our sites. We share results and lessons from these projects openly. We spread best practices.

Circular economy

  • We survey possibilities for carrying out circular economy measures.
  • We carry out circular economy initiatives during the property’s lifecycle.

CASE: Valmet Automotive

Valmet Automotive’s operations carbon neutral since the start of 2022

The operations of Valmet Automative, the leading provider of design and manufacturing services in the automotive industry, have been carbon neutral since the start of 2022. In climate work, the company is one of the forerunners in the automotive industry.

The company has been rated by classification society DNV to be carbon neutral in its operations, and its CO₂ emissions were reduced by approximately 80 percent during 2019–2021.

Valmet Automotive sustainability Report 2021 (PDF)


Emission calculations enable evaluating environmental effects of the entire property lifecycle

Emission calculations aim to examine emissions from stages 1, 2 and 3 in order to prevent them. Real estate lifecycle calculations consider the carbon footprint and lifecycle costs of the building’s entire lifecycle.

Real estate lifecycle phases (Granlund)

  • Product phase: acquisition of raw materials, transportation to manufacturing, manufacturing of product
  • Construction: transportation to site, construction site operations
  • Use phase: product use in the building, maintenance, reparation, replacement of parts, large-scale renovation
  • Demolition phase: demolition, transportation, processing of rubble, disposal of rubble
  • Post-lifecycle benefits and loads: recycling, energy sales

Measures for increasing low emissions during the building’s lifecycle include the following:

  • replacing the structure or material with a lower CO2 alternative;
  • improving energy efficiency;
  • alternative energy forms;
  • optimizing and reducing material consumption;
  • optimizing the frame;
  • longer service life of buildings;
  • emission-free construction site.

The definitions and realization of emission calculations vary between Pontos’ portfolio companies. So far, two companies have carried out extensive emission calculations. As part of our carbon neutrality goal, we are committed together with our companies to promoting active emission reduction measures, such as energy efficiency and to also calculating calculations.

Case: SRV

SRV’s lifecycle efficiency principle aims for balanced built environments and respecting nature

Construction is the industry involving the highest use of energy and materials, which causes emissions. However, the building system may also be an active part of the energy system.

One of Finland’s largest construction companies, SRV, designs lifecycle-wise buildings that do not waste energy and use energy produced with pure, renewable energy or with no emissions. Use-phase energy optimization helps to maintain pleasant circumstances to the buildings’ users while also minimizing the environmental effects of energy consumption.

Lifecycle efficiency signifies, for example, the following measures:

  • A large share of buildings have a carbon-neutral energy system. I.e., the buildings use solar electricity, emission-free electricity, geothermal heat or carbon-neutral district heating.
  • Energy efficiency plays an important role, and architectural engineering can be used to flexibly guide energy loads.
  • The company uses lower-carbon alternatives, such as carbon-neutral wood, as construction materials. Concrete required by more demanding sites is currently not available in lower-carbon alternatives.
  • The company is involved in some sites for the entire lifecycle – for example 20 years – making it responsible for the building using energy as agreed and for long-term sustainable materials.
  • The company’s construction sites are emission free.

Environmental certifications of properties offer guidelines for environmental responsibility

A part of promoting sustainable regional development from Pontos’ perspective is favoring environmentally certified sites and projects. Favoring environmentally certified sites is a good way to ensure that the property uses as little energy as possible and thus prevents emissions.

The classification separates between project-specific and property use-phase environmental effects.

From Pontos’ point of view, the environmental certification of properties is important, because

  • It is an integral part of environmentally responsible operations and preserving the Earth’s bearing capacity;
  • It enables a higher use rate of properties;
  • It slows down the decline of property value;
  • It supports the sites’ financing;
  • It lowers maintenance costs and
  • It supports higher sales prices.

According to Green Building Council, environmental certification enables the measuring, verification and comparability of environmental efficiency between properties across different projects. Certification is always based on an external evaluation of the building’s suitability in terms of its design, construction and operations.

We aim to certify all new construction and renovation sites. Our goals for environmental certifications are at least LEED® Gold or BREEAM® Very Good.

LEED and BREEAM environmental ratings

Finland uses two international rating systems on a wide scale, LEED and BREEAM.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating is the world’s most used global environmental rating system for buildings and has the benefit of a unified set of criteria and comparability around the world. The rating system is used in over 130 countries.

BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) rating is based on a shared European set of norms and is thus Europe’s leading environmental rating system for construction.

CASE: Valmet Automotive

Valmet Automotive committed to the PAS 2060 standard

Leading service provider in the automotive industry, Valmet Automotive, has published its commitment to carbon neutrality in its own operations in accordance with the PAS 2060 standard, effective from January 1st 2022. Classification society DNV has verified both Valmet Automotive’s goal and the measures it includes. The commitment made by Valmet Automotive is part of a certification process, where the CO₂ emissions of its operations are reviewed annually by a third party and compensated in full.

CASE: Ficolo (EXIT: 7/2022)

Ficolo’s PAS 2060 carbon neutrality commitment and Cicero’s Dark Green rating

Cloud service and data center company Ficolo has committed to the PAS 2060 standard in 2021, and the company’s entire operations are climate neutral, according to the certification from the Swiss South Pole’s Climate Neutral certification. The certification considers both direct and indirect greenhouse emissions and the environmental effects of construction.

Previously also environmental research center Cicero has assessed Ficolo’s The Air cloud service center and issued it the highest possible Dark Green rating as the first data center in the world. The rating is issued to projects that help to prevent climate change. The Air cloud service center is a pioneer in energy efficiency, heat recovery and recycling and 100 percent utilization of renewable energy, namely wind power.

In 2019, Ficolo collected a 20-million-euro financing round with the company’s green bond, the first privately owned green bond in Finland in 2019. A green bond means that the company is committed to using loan financing in a way that benefits the environment. The bond is certified by Cicero.

CASE: PONTOs’ PORTFOLIO

Pontos’ portfolio-wide commitments in environmental responsibility:

Pontos’ real estate portfolio and other portfolio companies have ongoing responsibility, energy efficiency and carbon neutrality commitments:

  • Pontos Group: member of Green Building Council Finland
  • Majority of Pontos real estate portfolio investment sites in Finland have committed to the national energy efficiency agreement of the industry
  • Renor: Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), LEED Platinum environmental certificate for shopping center Porin Puuvilla, BREAAM In-Use certificate level of Good for Askotalo in Askonalue, Lahti for both the building and technical maintenance, M1 construction material emission rating for Askotalo
  • Viru Hotel in Tallinn: first Green Key hotel in Estonia
  • Viru Keskus shopping center in Tallinn: LEED O&M (operations and maintenance) Platinum
  • Ombria Resort: European Property Awards – Best Sustainable Residential Development with the “Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort” project in 2019-2020, GEO Foundation certificate for golf course
  • Ficolo (EXIT: 7/2022): PAS 2060 standard – South Pole Climate Neutral Company, Cicero Dark Green
  • Valmet Automotive: ISO Energy and Environmental Management Systems ISO 9001 and 14001, PAS 2060 standard

Energy efficiency agreements combine national and industry-specific energy efficiency goals

Energy efficiency agreements are an important part of Finland’s energy and climate strategy. They are the single most important measure for Finland to meet the energy efficiency requirements of the EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive. Different industries in Finland have selected energy efficiency agreements as a way to fulfill the international energy efficiency obligations set for Finland.

In addition, energy efficiency agreements allow companies to utilize energy subsidies in their investments, i.e. support from the state for using new energy-efficient technology.

The majority of Pontos’ portfolio companies operating in Finland are committed to the national energy efficiency agreement of their industry.

The European Union’s Energy Efficiency Directive (EED)

The Energy Efficiency Directive introduced in 2012 regulates EU-level and national measures on the energy-saving obligation and the promotion of energy efficiency. Because the directives are not directly applicable legislation, the directive is implemented in Finland through the Energy Efficiency Act introduced in 2015. The act is implemented, for example, through energy efficiency agreements.

Digitalization of the real estate industry helps in reaching environmental goals during the property’s entire lifecycle

Utilizing technology is an effective way to prevent emissions altogether and support reaching carbon neutrality during the property’s entire lifecycle. It is an important part of reaching Pontos’ carbon neutrality goals.

Technology offers a range of possibilities in the real estate and construction industry, which is one of the slowest industries in embracing digitalization. Technology in the real estate industry enables

  • Increasing productivity in the real estate and industry;
  • Reducing environmental effects and
  • Improving the use and customer experience of properties.

Technology to helps to reduce properties’ environmental effects holistically during different stages of the building’s lifecycle, for example in the following ways:

  • design phase, construction and development: artificial intelligence in design, carbon-neutral and sustainable development construction materials, construction site robotics, leading with data at the construction site;
  • operating and managing buildings: solutions for managing properties with data, artificial intelligence in architectural engineering, digital services for monitoring the tenant’s experience in real time;
  • property transactions: platforms for temporary spaces, (warehouses and pop-up stores), boosting the sales process of properties and apartments – for example, the opportunity to visit sales sites remotely.

CASE: R8

Pontos’ portfolio company R8 Technologies a top player in real estate technology

Pontos’ portfolio company R8tech is an excellent example of a company helping properties to reduce their energy consumption significantly through artificial intelligence. The technology company, which accelerates change in the real estate industry, offers a web-based platform for the property’s building automation system, optimizing heating and air conditioning system management in commercial properties. Using the technology saves up to 30 percent of energy without lowering indoor air quality and thus reduces CO₂ emissions significantly.

The technology oversees and optimizes indoor air continuously, detects system faults and manages the tasks of a property maintenance company.

The company’s technology has been used in Europe across an area of over a million square meters. Its innovations in construction and real estate improve companies’ performance and help them to minimize negative environmental effects. As such, it provides an answer to the need to consider the Earth’s bearing capacity as well as people’s growing and changing needs in cities.

CASE: R8 Technologies & Viru keskus

Photo by: Olev Mihkelmaa
Photo by: Olev Mihkelmaa

Technology developed by R8 reduced Viru Keskus’ total energy use by 15 percent

Shopping center Viru Keskus in Tallinn and real estate technology company R8 Technologies achieved excellent results in energy efficiency and indoor air quality when the shopping center introduced the intelligent management program for property-technical devices. The collaboration has led to total energy savings of approximately 15 percent. At the same time, it has reduced Viru Keskus’ relatively large share in Pontos’ total carbon footprint. As part of the Carbon-Neutral Real Estate Portfolio 2030 action plan, Pontos is looking into possibilities for using R8 Technologies’ artificial intelligence in its other properties.

CASE: Ombria Resort

Ombria

Ombria Resort and virtual sales

Ombria Resort has developed a unique Ombria Sales app during travel restrictions for the sales team to showcase the locations of apartments to individual investors.

The app can be used for virtual tours and presenting views from the apartments. Although visits in the area have increased due to the removal of travel restrictions, virtual visits have continued to be very popular among buyers. They provide a way to explore the apartments, Ombria’s ambience and the site’s numerous alternatives of sustainable travel.

Pontos combines the real estate and construction industry with technological players

Combining the real estate industry with the technology industry requires an understanding of how companies in these fields can utilize technology during the different stages of the property lifecycle – and the courage to experiment with new practical solutions. As a long-term and active owner, Pontos has an excellent view of the field – and extensive networks within the real estate industry and technological players.

We combine players in the real estate and construction as well as technology industries. In addition to our real estate portfolio, we are an owner of one of Finland’s largest construction companies, SRV. We invest strategically in the digitalization of the real estate industry, and our portfolio includes real estate technology company R8 Technologies, among others.

The Group is also included in the collaboration network of Fifth Wall, the globally most active investment company focusing on real estate technology. The network helps us build collaboration between technology companies and players in real estate and construction.

We support our portfolio companies in exploring and experimenting with new technologies and digital tools.

Our goal is to start a pilot project in all suitable portfolio companies for testing appropriate technology. These next steps will guide our work:

  • We engage with all our portfolio companies that benefit from real estate and construction technology as part of active ownership.
  • We survey possibilities in utilizing innovations in real estate and construction in the operations of our portfolio companies.
  • We help real estate and construction companies establish connections with technology companies.

Minimizing waste for complete recycling

Buildings and construction use up about 50 percent of the Earth’s natural resources and about 40 percent of unrefined energy. The construction industry forms about 35 percent of greenhouse emissions globally, and 30 percent of waste. Thus, land and raw material use in construction are significant areas for both nature and the climate.

Advancing the circular economy greatly impacts the mitigation of climate change and preventing the loss of biodiversity.

The projects of Pontos’ portfolio companies use different circular economy measures and target levels. The operating model is developed through continuous dialogue with the companies. Our goal is to introduce pre-demolition audits in accordance with the Ministry of the Environment’s’ model or corresponding ones, to comply with at least a 70-percent recycling rate in the initial phase for the demolition and construction site waste and to increase the target level to 90 percent.

What is a circular economy?

A circular economy signifies a production and consumption model defined by the European Parliament that involves existing materials and products being utilized as much as possible through loaning, renting, reusing, fixing, repairing and recycling. This lengthens the product lifecycle.

In practice, this means reducing waste to a minimum. When a product reaches the end of its lifecycle, its materials can still be utilized, when possible, which allows them to produce added value.

A circular economy can be advanced during the building’s entire lifecycle. In addition to the reuse of materials, circular economy areas include, for example, servitization and digitalization.

During the building’s lifecycle, a circular economy helps, for example, in

  • Mitigating climate change;
  • The re-utilization construction and maintenance materials;
  • Reducing the use of virgin natural resources and
  • Preserving biodiversity.

CASE: Ombria

Ombria: A circular economy pioneer

Ombria Resort is a true pioneer in circular economy and biodiversity. The company has recycled all soil and rock material in the project, with practically no landmass ending up in a landfill. Ombria uses local plant and tree species in the project’s landscaping. Some of these are grown by the company in its own garden center.

Ombria’s project is monitored in accordance with a very extensive conservation program created for the project. The conservation program is divided into construction-phase and use-phase parts. The program’s measures are reported every three months, for example, to the provincial government’s environmental department to support their environmental monitoring in the region.

CASE: Renor and Askonalue

Renor and Askonalue in Lahti – large-scale circular economy

Askonalue in Lahti is a new type of area introduced by Renor and developed into a green quarter in a former household appliance and furniture factory area. The company has built a diverse green hub for living, events, work and operations into the old factory milieu of over 30 hectares. The offices, restaurants and lobbies are cooled with groundwater. Askonalue also utilizes geothermal heat.

Askotalo’s premises use solutions that save light and water, and its construction has received an emission rating M1 for construction materials, signifying low emissions. The place has several charging places for electric cars and good public transportation, walking and cycling possibilities – including shower facilities for commuting cyclists. The premises have an indoor air rating of S1. The restaurants utilize local food, sell surplus food to employees and prevent food loss.

The area is a typical example of Renor’s handprint in reusing and developing historical properties, with the company following responsible principles that stand the test of time.

Minimizing emissions

Minimizing emissions to support efficient energy use inside the property

Minimizing emissions, i.e. the efficient energy use of properties, is an important area of achieving carbon neutrality.

Pontos’ Carbon-Neutral Real Estate Portfolio 2030 action plan’s emission minimization principles are:

Identifying emission reduction areas and energy renovation projects

  • We identify the most efficient emission reduction sites. We evaluate the energy efficiency of our properties regularly through energy assessments.
  • We invest in improving the energy efficiency of buildings and carry out energy efficiency projects annually.

Own production of renewable energy

  • We utilize waste heat and two-way district heat.
  • We aim to produce local, renewable energy in our companies when possible – solar energy, heat pumps, geothermic heat.
  • We establish energy solutions for utilizing renewable energy sources.

Open dialogue with companies at the core of emission reductions

We engage in open dialogue with companies on how much and how energy is produced in properties. Together we lay out a plan for surveying possibilities for our own energy production and defining steps for practical measures.

CASE: AVIA Real Estate

AVIA Real Estate’s energy renovation projects

Real estate investment and development company AVIA Real Estate has carried out energy renovation projects, which have reduced the energy consumption and CO2 emissions at two of the company’s properties.

The first energy-renovated site is the 7-story office building Avia Fleet in the Helsinki-Vantaa airport environment. It was given new and modernized ventilation. Avia Fleet also saw a new heat recovery system to recover exhaust air and waste heat from cooling. The measures achieved energy savings of 13 percent and a 219-ton annual reduction in CO2 emissions.

Another site is the modern and light office tower Avia Wing, where the ventilation was modernized and made more energy efficient with easily adjustable blowers. Ventilation management was also altered to be more suitable for needs, and old roof extractors and mechanisms were renewed. The energy savings goal for Avia Wing is 15 percent. In addition, a 48-ton annual CO2 reduction will be achieved.

Own energy production reduces need for purchased energy

Local energy production means that the property can produce energy on its own. Self-produced energy affects direct emissions from fuels used at the property for energy production in scope 1. Own energy production reduces the need for purchased energy.

When production takes place with renewable energy sources, energy is emission free. Own energy production refers, for example, to nature’s energy sources.

Reducing emissions with self-produced energy is a part of our carbon neutrality goals. We increase the production of our own renewable energy in terms of electricity and heat in our properties and development projects. In our more extensive regional development projects, we aim to use energy solutions on an area wider than a single property.

What does renewable energy mean?

Renewable energy means energy from renewable, non-fossil sources. These are wind and solar power (solar heat and solar electricity) and geothermal energy, energy from the environment, tidal and wave energy and other oceanic energy, water power and biomass, gas and biogas from dumpsites and sewage treatment plants. (Source: The Directive 2018/2001 of the European Parliament and the Council on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources)

A property may be self-sufficient in energy production by utilizing renewable energy possibilities, such as solar electricity and heat, geothermal heat and energy recycling.

CASE: Ficolo (EXIT: 7/2022)

Ficolo’s data centers are carbon neutral with goal of carbon negativity

Cloud service and data center company Ficolo is an excellent example of holistic commitment to environmental friendliness. The company’s operations are carbon neutral as a whole.

Cloud services and data centers produce significant climate effects, for example due to electricity consumption. Ficolo uses renewable energy, produces its own solar power at The Rock solar power plant, recovers waste heat and distributes surplus heat to the district heating system. This way recycled heat can be used to heat the apartments near The Air data center.

More information on the company’s environmental activities can be accessed on the company’s website.

CASE: Ombria

Ombria – using geothermal heat and renewable energy production

Ombria Resort is one of the first players to pilot the use of geothermal heat in the Iberian Peninsula. Ombria Resort produces geothermal heat for the cooling and heating of the area’s hotel and other buildings, and for the production of warm water for use. The company also installs solar collectors on car parking roofs, with the produced energy being utilized in pool heating.

Ombria has been awarded by the prestigious European Property Awards as Best Sustainable Residential Development with the “Viceroy Residences at Ombria Resort” project during 2019-2020.

Ombria is committed to the European Commission’s Nearly Zero Energy Buildings program. All buildings have energy rating A.

CASE: Renor

Renor – pioneer in producing its own energy

Real estate investment and development company Renor has carried out Finland’s first significant geothermal heating project that utilizes groundwater. The company uses a groundwater system to produce energy that caters to the cooling and heating of properties in Askonalue, Lahti.

In Pori, the company’s Puuvilla shopping center uses renewable energy. The shopping center uses one of Finland’s largest property-specific solar power plants.

The Silkkitehdas city block in Vantaa developed by the company has geothermal heating that covers the entire block’s cooling and heating energy needs.

Complementary measures: purchased energy and compensation

Complementary measures to advance carbon neutrality of entire property lifecycle

Purchasing green electricity and emission compensations are complementary carbon neutrality measures within Pontos’ operating model. Purchased energy impacts scope 2 emissions.

Pontos’ Carbon-Neutral Real Estate Portfolio 2030 action plan’s principles on supplementary measures:

Purchasing renewable energy

  • We purchase primarily green electricity and district heating produced with renewable resources for our properties.

Emission compensation

  • We compensate remaining emissions. Compensation is carried out only towards the end of the target period if emissions have not been removed with other measures.

Purchasing renewable energy has a positive effect on the carbon footprint of direct emissions

Purchased energy refers to direct emissions from scope 2 purchased energy, resulting from electricity, heating and cooling. Shifting from purchased energy into renewable energy is fast and reasonably affordable. The measure has a major impact on reducing the property’s carbon footprint.

Energy produced at a renewable energy plant can be classified as an emission-free energy source.

Reducing purchased energy emissions is part of our carbon neutrality goals for properties’ use-phase emissions (scopes 1 ja 2). However, energy efficiency measures and own energy production are the means we primarily use. We engage in open dialogue with the companies on how much and what energy the properties use, and what more sustainable alternatives are available.

CASE: Valmet Automotive

Valmet Automotive and renewable energy use

Valmet Automotive’s highly energy-intense industrial operations form the majority of energy in Pontos’ portfolio. Yet Valmet Automotive’s emission impact is significantly smaller, as the company has invested heavily in using renewable energy, both in electricity use and district heat consumption. For example, the purchased heat and electricity energy at the car factory Uusikaupunki is renewable, which makes the factory’s carbon footprint small in the portfolio.

CASE: SRV

SRV’s construction sites are emission free

The strategic goal of SRV, one of Finland’s largest construction companies, is to support lifecycle-wise, lasting and good conditions for people. Since the start of 2022, the company’s construction sites have been the first emission-free sites in the Finnish construction industry.

Principles of emission-free construction sites

  • All heat used at construction sites is emission free. In other words, the heat is either geothermal heat or carbon-neutral district heat. This also includes heating involved in the drainage of the construction site.
  • Machinery runs on biofuels or electricity. Electricity-operating machinery in particular is still relatively uncommon in the market.
  • If there is no carbon-neutral alternative available for gas, this is compensated by planting trees on former peat bogs, where binding carbon dioxide is most effective. The planting of trees has been validated by the research organization Natural Resources Institute Finland.

Compensation complements carbon-neutrality measures

Emission compensation means that the negative climate effects are reversed by reducing or tying the amount corresponding to one’s emissions somewhere else. However, compensation is the final way to achieve carbon neutrality, despite being a significant part of the journey of highly energy-intensive industries.

Pontos’ operating model does not have separate compensation goals, since carbon neutrality goals prioritize the prevention and minimization of emissions and purchased energy activities. Only remaining emissions are compensated if they have not been removed through primary means.

Pontos' environmental management

Pontos’ environmental management is based on strong and active collaboration with portfolio companies

As part of active and long-term ownership, Pontos takes part in developing its portfolio companies. Goal-oriented environmental management and collaboration with portfolio companies is a central part of the Carbon-Neutral Real Estate Portfolio 2030 operating model.

Environmental management consists of several building blocks:

  • The Group’s clear vision of the carbon neutrality goal, the current state of the portfolio and the use and monitoring of appropriate measures.
  • A shared vision of the portfolio companies and Group on the carbon neutrality goal and measures.
  • Commonly agreed steps and regular collaboration between the Group or portfolio companies.
  • Case-specific and flexible guidance for portfolio companies on environmental matters.

Operative and ambitious work in companies is also very important for reaching environmental goals. Pontos’ portfolio companies have different internal management models for implementing the operating model. Yet more systematic work is needed.

At the core of all Pontos’ operations are our principles, which guide our work towards carbon neutrality – and our investments as well. In addition to considering natural resources, we want to promote a sense of community, the accessibility of public and light transportation and thus vital infrastructure, the creation of new jobs and business opportunities.

Get in touch!

Get in touch, and let’s talk!

Do you have thoughts on promoting environmental responsibility or using technology in real estate? We’d love to hear them!

Tomula Päivi

Päivi Tomula

Investment Director, Real Estate

+358 40 643 2809

Karlberg Tor-Oskar

Tor-Oskar Karlberg

Investment Manager