Green Key Event on solar energy and sustainable renewable energy in Finland

Green Key Finland aims to provide Green Key sites, excursions and workshops to highlight the latest developments and new opportunities in environmentally friendly practices.

Solar energy and sustainable renewable energy are one of the most important topics being discussed in energy right now.Therefore Green Key’s first event focused on these topics and a natural venue for the event was Restaurant Faro, which itself is a forerunner in using solar power. The audience had the opportunity to hear the latest news from the Finnish Solar Technical Association. Solnet Green Energy presented the the innovative solution for solar energy that they have provided for Faro. The panels on the roof-top have been installed in an optimal position for producing electricity for the restaurant. The solution feeds solar generated electricity directly into the restaurant for their use, and currently produces 15% of their electricity.

Another big topic was sustainably produced renewable energy. Especially after the Paris climate negotiations, many business sectors have started to take into account the rapid growth of renewables. Consequently, the huge variety of renewable energy sources and their environmental impacts have made it into the public debate. As all electricity production impacts nature, strict sustainability criteria ensures that renewable power plants do as little damage as possible to the local biodiversity. For example, with hydropower plants it might be necessary to construct fish passes and spawning areas to protect the local wildlife.

EKOenergy presented the easiest way for hotels to pick the right type of power, which is to search for an ecolabel that guarantees the sustainability of electricity production by an independent third party. The additional cost of ecolabelled electricity typically varies between only 1-2 %, but the impact for both the climate and the local environment is significant.

EKOenergy is an NGO and part of the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation, and they do not sell electricity, but help hotels to switch to renewable electricity with sustainability criteria. They also provide support to communicate the hotel’s choice for sustainable energy and it’s impact for the environment. This is extremely important, as the maximal publicity they help to create is a simple and highly effective way to communicate about the user’s environmental values, and additionally increases public awareness of the importance of making sustainable energy choices. EKOenergy is the only pan-European ecolabel for electricity, supported by 40 environmental NGOs from over 30 countries and widely available for Green Key Hotels.

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