How Helsinki Keeps Cool

How Helsinki Keeps Cool

By Tiffany Orvet
The Finnish city continues on its path to be carbon neutral by 2050.

The newest lake in Helsinki isn’t on the map—it’s more than 300 feet below the city, and it’s the latest cog in a centralized cooling, heating, and energy-production system that’s propelling the city closer to its goal of running on 100 percent carbon-neutral energy by 2050. 

Seawater cooled in the reservoir is piped through the inner city, creating a cheaper, greener, and more efficient form of air conditioning for some 300 connected buildings. While district temperature regulation like this isn’t new, the way Helsinki has joined it with multiple systems is a pioneering step. The city collects the energy that escapes through the process and recycles it. According to Kosti Koski, head of district cooling at energy company Helen: "The next big thing will be on the heating side, where we are transferring our production to carbon-neutral fuels."


Get the Dwell Newsletter

Be the first to see our latest home tours, design news, and more.