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The building services sector is transformed by innovating together

The building services sector is transformed by innovating together

25.1.2023 – Granlund's new Innovation Director Heikki Ihasalo considers the renewal of the building services sector to be inevitable. Operating methods change only through working together.

Themes
Innovations, Productivity
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Heikki Ihasalo, Granlund’s new Innovation Director, has been following the development of the building services sector for a long time. The renewal of the real estate and construction sector challenges operators in the sector to change familiar practices, but change cannot be achieved by anyone alone without cooperation. “There are many individual small operators involved in construction projects, so change requires a common desire.”

It is important for Ihasalo that cooperation is not limited to building services companies, educational institutions and researchers. “For example, the development of artificial intelligence also requires dialogue with the IT industry.”

Involving operators of all sizes in the development of the sector

Until now, the development of the building services sector has focused on national and EU-level projects, such as Business Finland’s development projects and networking events. Cooperation was also encouraged at the Talotekniikka NEXT event in autumn 2022. “The industry needs places to share information and discuss. When we meet each other, ideas are refined and good results spread more widely,” Ihasalo emphasises.

Development work is not intended to remain as a dialogue between the largest operators, and therefore all building services companies of all sizes are encouraged to participate in co-development with the Talotekniikka 2030 project. “It lowers the threshold for participating in development work because, in addition to the steering group, it is possible to participate with smaller investments, such as in a project monitoring group.”

The aim of the project is to design, build and maintain better functioning, environmentally friendly and energy-efficient buildings. “The growth of national know-how also creates a basis for each company’s own development work and, at the same time, we can take this know-how out into the world together.”

Heikki Ihasalo.

What will building services focus on in the future?

According to Ihasalo, building services play a very important role in solving climate challenges, which is why the Talotekniikka 2030 project also focuses on sustainable development. “The tightening energy efficiency and sustainability targets emphasise the importance of technology and require it to be developed together.”

The project’s priorities also include digitalisation. “Consumers are used to digital services in their daily lives, so building services must also make life easier for users,” says Ihasalo. A good example is Aalto University’s Aalto Space mobile application, which helps, for example, to find and reserve free conference spaces and control their indoor conditions.

The themes of the Talotekniikka 2030 project include the development of the role of operators in the building services sector in the construction value chain. Together, we will seek answers to issues such as the energy transition. Buildings need a new form of energy flexibility. “Renewable energy production varies, so buildings need to be flexible in one way or another according to demand and price peaks.”

The research themes of the project also include optimising construction schedules and making them more efficient, such as through takt production. The objectives become concrete in ensuring operations throughout the lifecycle of a building. “Energy-efficient buildings must also achieve the savings planned for them.”

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Heikki Ihasalo

Heikki Ihasalo

Director, Innovation and Development
Granlund Group

Talotekniikka 2030

  • A project launched in 2022 with the aim of promoting the development of the building services sector and creating a vision of what the building services sector will be like in 2030
  • The project consortium includes companies, foundations, researchers and Talotekniikkaliitto
  • The group of professors includes Professors Risto Kosonen, Heikki Ihasalo, Olli Seppänen and Jaakko Ketomäki from Aalto University, and Professor Piia Sormunen from the University of Tampere
  • Preliminary research themes include Smart Buildings, Carbon Neutrality and Health Security, Lifecycle Property Management, and Productivity in Construction and Construction Services.

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