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New Real Estate Manager Anssi Aalto starts working for the foundation

In October 2020 Anssi Aalto was leafing through the Sunday edition of Turun Sanomat newspaper when an interesting job advertisement caught his eye. Ismo Aaltonen, the long-serving real estate manager of the Turku Student Village Foundation, was about to retire and the foundation was looking for someone to replace him.

“The position sounded extremely interesting and a new challenge in my career, so I decided to apply for the job. I was delighted to be chosen”, Aalto says.

Aalto began to familiarize himself with his new job in the beginning of April and took on the role of the real estate manager at the start of May 2021. Before coming to the foundation, he worked at construction group Skanska. In his previous job, he became used to working in various projects involving new construction.

“I worked for 20 years at construction group Skanska in various planning and construction tasks. I was involved in a fairly wide scale of construction projects from housing development all the way to commercial construction in the region of Southwest Finland”, says Aalto.

Familiar and interesting new duties

Working with new construction will continue in the new position, but it also comes with many new and interesting duties. Aalto and his team are also responsible for the repair and maintenance of the existing real estate stock. Aalto describes his new colleagues as friendly and competent.

“I have been extremely well received at the foundation and our team is friendly and competent. I have not previously worked with student housing and this is a whole new, interesting world for me. I have learned a lot and look forward to upcoming projects and new challenges”, Aalto says.

When asked about the major construction projects of the foundation in the upcoming years, Aalto mentions Tyyssija, which is under construction, and Kylänkulma, where the town planning is expected to be completed by early autumn. The existing real estate stock is also maintained constantly.

“Even the foundation’s strategy states that the objective is to increase new housing development. We will certainly pursue this objective in the upcoming years, but we also spend a considerable sum each year on constantly repairing and renovating existing properties”, Aalto says.

Objective to reduce energy emissions from housing

In terms of key future objectives, Aalto also mentions the reduction of energy emissions from housing and carbon neutrality by 2029, an objective set by the foundation.

“The foundation’s carbon neutrality objective is a major, important strategic aim. We are in the process of calculating the carbon footprint of our properties and have begun working on a carbon neutrality roadmap. We are therefore creating a plan for reaching our objective and will then start working on putting it into practice”, Aalto describes.

The energy emissions from housing are also reduced in cooperation with others operating in the Turku region. The foundation is involved in the RESPONSE project, funded by the Horizon 2020 Framework Programme of the European Commission, where the aim is to make the Student Village an energy-positive neighbourhood, for instance by developing smart, carbon-neutral solutions for energy production and building services.

“The RESPONSE project allows us to pilot various ways to cut the energy consumption of housing and reduce the carbon footprint of housing in the Student Village. Such projects not only allow us to facilitate the climate-friendly housing of our tenants, but also help us keep housing maintenance costs in check and to continue to provide affordable, high-quality apartments for students”, says Aalto.

Enthusiastic spectator of sports

Aalto admits to being an enthusiastic spectator of sports in his free time. Ice hockey is his personal favourite, but he also enjoys watching all other types of sport as well. The upcoming summer has been dubbed the super summer of sport by the media, and this is also reflected in Aalto’s summer plans.

“It’s great that TPS did well in ice hockey and won the silver medal. I’ve also enjoyed watching football, knowing that Finland qualified for the European Championship, and the ongoing Ice Hockey World Championship. Later in the summer we get to watch the Olympics as well. COVID-19 puts its own restrictions on our other summer plans, but my plan is to spend with my family at the summer cottage”, Aalto says.