CEO´s Review

”According to the housing and land use policy being prepared by the City of Turku, the total volume of housing production should be at approximately 2,100 apartments per year so that the City’s population growth goals can be realised. In the draft for the policy, the City aims to set goals for securing the production of reasonably-priced housing. These goals include an annual production goal of 140 apartments for TYS. Meeting this specific goal is entirely possible during TYS’ strategy term for 2018–2022.

Aitiopaikka has some 250 apartments, while the upcoming Tyyssija project on the west side of the Student Village will have a little under 200 apartments. The next new location is Kylänkulma on the eastern side of the Student Village. The land use planning of this project will move forward this year. Kylänkulma will have over 350 apartments when completed.

The Foundation is seeking the European Union’s Smart Cities and Community (SCC) Lighthouse project funding. One of this project’s goals is to create models of climate-positive urban districts. TYS has suitable properties which could be developed further in the Lighthouse project. The preparation of the application started in autumn 2019, and the City of Turku submitted the application in January 2020.”

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Construction projects

The procurement notice for the new location, Tyyssija, was published in December 2018, and the submission period for tenders ended in February 2019. Three construction companies submitted their tender by the deadline. The tendering process was implemented through negotiated procedures.

During the negotiation rounds, the plans were developed, and solutions that would facilitate construction and be more economical were sought. After three negotiation rounds, Peab Oy was selected as the contractor because its tender was the most advantageous economically. A preliminary agreement has been signed with Peab.

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Tyyssija – the new heart of the Student Village

The Tyyssija construction project started with an architect competition in 2017 and has been underway for several years now. The new heart of the Student Village has been designed with the tenants and the environment in mind. The area will offer extensive services to all residents of the Student Village, as well as well-equipped housing.

A long road

Since 2017, a lot has happened in the project. TYS’ Property Engineer Joonas Rantala and Construction Engineer Johanna Salminen say that the project has involved various phases and preparations have been made long before starting the construction.

“The project has been a long road that started as early as in 2017, after which we started the designs and land use planning. The land use plan of the Student Village had to be changed for the project, with two plots being combined. In addition to this, the buildings on the plot were demolished, including the TYS office,” Rantala says.

”In 2019, competitive tendering and negotiations were held for the contract. The further plans for the location continued with the selected contractor and the designer, architectural firm SIGGE Arkkitehdit Oy,” Salminen says.

When complete, Tyyssija will have five floors, the top three of which will have 186 student apartments, while the ground floor will include Arkea Oy’s student restaurant, a CampusSport gym, grocery shop K-Kylänvalinta and the TYS office. The bottom floor will have apartment-specific storage spaces and an emergency shelter. The project will also involve modern and sustainable energy solutions.

“The apartments will run along the building’s inner and outer edges with the corridors in the middle of the building. The courtyard will have stairs and green elements by which tenants can spend time. The tenants will also have access to two lounges, sauna facilities and a laundry room that will also be available to the tenants of Student Village West. A SmartPost parcel locker is also being planned for this location,” says Salminen.

“The building will also have solar panels that will produce electricity for it and the surrounding buildings. The location will also have district cooling, the recovery of which will also produce energy for the heat pumps,” Rantala adds.

End users direct the designs

All apartments in the location will be studios, most of which will be sized 20–30 square metres. Each apartment will have its own ventilation system and water meter, as well as individual storage space in the basement. The designs have been directed by the needs of future student tenants.

“The aim is to make the building cost-efficient without compromising quality. The designs also take the wishes of modern students into account. The apartments have a connection for both a laundry machine and a dishwasher. We also learned from the Aitiopaikka construction process, which was completed at the turn of the year in 2019, and the feedback collected from tenants. All apartments will have blinds in the windows, for example,” Salminen says.

“All apartments are studios, which also means that the rent level will be reasonable for students. The ends users are also taken into consideration in the technical and energy-related solutions in the apartments. Students are interested in environmental matters, and they can monitor their water consumption with the apartments’ water meters, for example. The Foundation’s values of sustainable development and the energy goals of the City of Turku have also directed the designs, and energy solutions have been introduced to the project,” Rantala states.

The reward is a finished building

Both Rantala and Salminen praise the project and say it has been interesting to be a part of it. The final reward will be the new heart of the Student Village, and both engineers are excited to see it completed.

“This is a fascinating and challenging site, and it’s been great to be a part of its design and management. I don’t know any other building in Turku with such a diverse user base, since there will be a restaurant, gym, grocery shop, student apartments and such energy solutions in one building. We’ve had some interesting challenges along the way, but we’ve also managed to solve them,” Rantala says.

“It’s wonderful to be a part of the project and, in the end, see an amazing building that will be there for a long time. Of course, I hope there won’t be any surprises in the construction phase and that the building will be finished on schedule, which currently seems to be the case. I also wish that the future tenants of the building and the current residents of the area will embrace the building,” Salminen says.

Sustainable development

As in the previous years, waste management was handled by Lassila & Tikanoja Oy. In spring 2019, a survey on the functionality of waste management was implemented for the residents of the Student Village. The survey was similar to the survey carried out in Nummenranta in autumn 2018. Based on the results of the Student Village survey, changes were made to the waste collection points to better meet the tenants’ recycling needs. Each collection point was equipped with collection bins for all types of waste, and the least-used collection points were removed from service.

A recycling pilot project started in Student Village West in autumn 2019. Two buildings were chosen for the pilot. The shared kitchens of these buildings were equipped with bins for plastic, biowaste, cardboard, glass and metal, in addition to waste to be incinerated. The purpose of the pilot is to see how recycling and cleaning can be coordinated in the shared kitchens.

In connection with the City of Turku’s ‘Kuntalaisten Energiakäänne’ (‘energy changes of residents’) project (2016–2019), it was inquired if TYS could participate in the European Union’s Smart Cities and Community (SCC) Lighthouse project. One of this project’s goals is to create models of climate-positive urban districts. TYS announced it was tentatively interested in seeking project funding along with the City of Turku’s application by presenting suitable properties. The preparation of the application started in autumn 2019.

Since October 2019, the waste management of all TYS locations has been implemented carbon-neutrally. The emissions from waste management will be compensated by absorbing an equal amount of carbon from the atmosphere through Gold Standard certified reforestation projects. In addition to binding carbon, these projects also contribute to other sustainable development goals. They also support the employment of locals and strengthen biodiversity. At the moment, our carbon footprint is being compensated for through a reforestation project in Middle America rainforests. The service is produced by Lassila & Tikanoja, the company in charge of waste management.

Improved waste management through dialogue

In 2019, more than 1,590 tonnes of household waste were placed in the about 50 waste collection points of Turku Student Village Foundation. This volume is not exactly small, which is why the Foundation is focusing on the planning of waste management. With functional waste management and active recycling by tenants, we can also achieve financial savings, in addition to environmental benefits. Tenants value good recycling opportunities, and TYS is constantly attempting to develop its waste management to meet the needs of both tenants and the environment as well as possible.

Dutiful recyclers

In 2019, 3% less waste was collected from TYS collection points than in 2018. Even the statistics show that TYS has a good level of recycling. For example, the average recycling rate of all household waste in Finland was at 42% in 2018, while the recycling rate of TYS housing locations was as high as 54% in 2018. The recycling rate shows which percentage of waste produced can be reused as material or refined into raw materials for new products. The reutilisation rate of waste from TYS locations is 100%, which shows how much of the waste is used in energy production, for example, in addition to recycling. TYS’ Property Assistant Aila Kovanen says the tenants are dutiful recyclers.

“When we have discussed this with our partners, it’s become clear that the recycling rate in TYS housing locations is very good compared to an average housing company. There are differences between TYS housing locations, of course. Some locations have a recycling rate of 40%, while others have a rate of 70%,” Kovanen says.

According to Kovanen, the varying recycling rates are also affected by the types of bins at the collection points and their emptying schedules, not just the recycling activity of tenants. In addition to this, the recycling bins in the apartments do not always correspond to the waste types collected at the collection points, and recycling requires the tenant to be active and arrange their home to suit their recycling needs.

“In general, the tenants are great at recycling. Though sometimes, we get reports that there are plastic bags in the biowaste bin or that the cardboard bin fills up too quickly when people put boxes there without flattening them. However, we are constantly seeking solutions to the problems observed by the tenants,” Kovanen says.

Surveys support the development of recycling in the Student Village

In spring 2019, we decided that we would develop the waste management in the Student Village and sent a survey to the tenants regarding the functionality and placement of the waste collection points. Approximately a third of Student Village tenants responded to the survey. Based on the survey, we thought about how we could further improve recycling and how tenants could be motivated to recycle even more.

”Based on the responses, we decided to place recycling bins for all types of waste in all collection points. Before, locations with multiple collection points did not have all types of bins at every point. Now, a few collection points with low utilisation rates, according to the survey, were removed, and the remaining collection points were equipped with bins for all types of waste. This way, we could get more bins for the collection points with higher utilisation rates,”Kovanen says.

In addition to this, a recycling pilot project started in Student Village West in the autumn. Two buildings were chosen for the pilot. The shared kitchens of these buildings were equipped with bins for plastic, biowaste, cardboard, glass and metal, in addition to waste to be incinerated.

“We’d had the idea of a recycling pilot earlier, but the recycling survey confirmed that we really should start the pilot. In the survey, the respondents living in apartments with a shared kitchen were unhappy with the limited recycling opportunities in the kitchen,” says Kovanen.

Previously, the kitchens only had a bin for waste to be incinerated, which meant that, in practice, the tenants who wanted to recycle had to take the waste to their apartment or the waste collection points after cooking.

“The tenants have been extremely happy with the pilot, and the sorting of waste has worked excellently. We have also received inquiries from other buildings in Student Village West if we could put recycling bins in their shared kitchens, as well. We’ve already placed bins in one building,” says Kovanen.

Improved waste management through dialogue

Development would not be possible without tenant feedback and participation in the waste management surveys.

“Customer feedback is vital in development work. With the surveys, we can focus on the customers and listen to their requests. In addition to the surveys, other feedback, through defect notices and other contacts, is also welcome and important for the development. Through dialogue, we will be able to direct the services as needed,” Kovanen states.

No significant changes to waste management are being planned for 2020. However, the dialogue with tenants will continue.

“We will monitor the impact of last year’s changes on the functionality of waste management. We also carried out a follow-up survey for the tenants of Student Village West regarding the recycling pilot in shared kitchens. In this survey, tenants could share their experiences of the pilot project. The results show that tenants appreciated the pilot and wanted it to continue. We are glad to receive tenant feedback and ideas, and we will make changes as needed,” Kovanen says.

Funding

Rents from student housing and total turnover (milj. €)

Average rent and maintenance costs (€)

Property maintenance costs (%)

Loan instalments and interest costs

Loans by type (%)

Turnover

29,7

milj. €

For property renovations

4,9

milj. €

Average rent

12,60

€ / m²/ month

Tenants

6428

Housing applications

3123

New rental agreements

4861

Apartments

6932

Asuntopaikkaa

96,5%

Apatment utilisation rate

57%

of tenants lived in one-person apartments, meaning a studio or a room in a shared apartment

43%

of tenants lived in a family apartment

6426

Tenants

1595

International students