Paroc's Innova project receives honourable mention at the Puupalkinto awards

30 Nov 2012

Paroc carried out an Innova project in Riihimäki with the goal of finding a new, energy-efficient way of renovating old multi-storey buildings. The goals were high, and the location was challenging. The outcome is a technically well-functioning solution, which enabled a considerably shorter repair time and it was possible for the residents to live in their homes throughout the renovation. Finnish wood sector promotion organisations granted the Innova project an honourable mention at the 2012 Puupalkinto (wood prize) awards.

Paroc launched the Innova cooperation project in 2010 to find new, energy-efficient ways of repairing old multi-storey buildings. Through a competition, a multi-storey building with rental flats located in Riihimäki and owned by the city was selected as the location. Operators in the sector started to renovate it as part of a joint project. Architect Kimmo Lylykangas is the main designer of the project.

The main goals were to increase the value of the property, make the flats more comfortable and enjoyable, and to cut property maintenance costs. A further goal was to find a new solution model for housing during construction. Therefore, the residents did not have to move elsewhere but they lived in their homes throughout the project. In addition to facade renovation, the location's roof was renovated and its shape was changed, the heating system was modified, and ventilation was substantially improved.

The awards jury says that the Innova project is the first practical application of a new repair method for blocks of flats developed as part of the international SmartTES research project. ”The duration of the construction stage was only about 50% of the typical time spent on the repairs of similar buildings of the same age in the Peltosaari area, and it was possible for the residents to live in their homes during the renovation," says Mikko Viljakainen, Puuinfo Oy's CEO and member of the Puupalkinto awards jury.

The honourable mention is a good example of how Paroc's long-term development and innovation work for energy-efficient building solutions are attracting interest,” says Paroc Group CEO Kari Lehtinen. ”We will further contribute to innovations made through customer cooperation because we believe that development projects implemented through cooperation provide the best results for customers and end users," he says.

Innova's solutions

The main themes for the energy technology goals of the Innova project were renovation elements developed for renovation, and state-of-the-art ventilation solutions. In the facade renovation, a decision was made to select the vertical timber frame element manufactured by Teeri-Kolmio Oy. Paroc thermal insulation, windows, balcony doors and flat-specific ventilation channels were integrated to the element at the factory. Using a ready-made element reduced the repair time by 50% compared to on-site repair. VTT is still monitoring the location's energy consumption and the functionality of the structure through sensors installed in the elements. The measurement results will be published after the first heating period in autumn 2013.

Two new ventilation machines with a heat capture system were installed at the location, meaning that up to 75% of the heat in the exhaust air can be utilised. The renewed ventilation improved indoor air quality when the location's tightness was repaired to almost meet the standard level of a passive house. The result of VTT's air tightness measurement is 0.8 l/h whereas the passive level is 0.6 l/h. The comparison value of a new house is 2.0 l/h and the typical value of an older house is about 4–8 l/h.

From the residents' viewpoint, the success of renovation projects is measured through the outcome and through communication during construction. The Innova project used multi-channel communication where the residents were informed by email and SMS messages in addition to traditional flyers and notices. Therefore, it was possible to communicate quickly to the residents and their family members living elsewhere, or those supervising their interests.