ARA's Onnelanpolku is Finland's first Passive House apartment complex

Lahti-based assisted living centre Onnelanpolku has been granted Finland's first certification from the German Passive House Institute. Certification is awarded to buildings that meet the consumption criteria for heating energy, cooling, insulation and primary energy.

The assisted living centre was commissioned by the Lahti Pensioner Housing Fund (Lahden Vanhusten asuntosäätiö) and the project received development financing from ARA, an investment subsidy for special needs groups and an interest subsidised loan. The building complex was built by Caverion and YIT.

Onnelanpolku is the first extensive assisted living centre project, the energy solutions for which are based on the use of diverse renewable energy, excellent energy-efficiency as well as the effective utilisation of free or lost energy flow.

The overall objectives set for energy consumption have been met over a two year monitoring period. The experiences gained in the Onnelanpolku project have established a good foundation for the future design of passive housing.

Sights set on the future

The premise for Onnelanpolku was the renovation of concrete apartment buildings that had reached an age where they required repair. After consideration, the decision was made to build an entirely new building complex, and the construction project began with the demolition of the three old buildings. In their place, a new diverse assisted housing centre was built.

According to ARA Director General Hannu Rossilahti, Onnelanpolku has been one of ARA's key projects over recent years. "The project demonstrates foresight, open-mindedness and courage. This is the perfect example of how a renovation project does not only focus on an evaluation of the existing building's condition, but assesses the area's needs from a broader point of view far into the future."

"An effort is made to simultaneously take as many aspects into consideration during the early planning stages as possible: the effective use of the lot, the energy-efficiency of new buildings and the forthcoming assisted living centre's versatile services as well as the utilisation of smart features. Accessibility has been considered and implemented extensively, in a manner that does not only take the physical environment into account. This is how Sanna Mäkinen, Executive Manager at Lahden vanhusten asuntosäätiö, which commissioned the work, describes the project.

"The basic idea behind Onnelanpolku is life span housing: one can move in while they are still in quite good physical condition and grow old in a vital operating environment," Ms Mäkinen says.

Onnelanpolku atrium
Onnelanpolku's facade
Published 2017-02-15 at 12:45, updated 2017-02-15 at 12:51