The EU will support VVO Group in financing new near-zero-energy buildings (NZEBs) in Finland. The European Investment Bank (EIB) agreed to extend EUR 170m in financing to the company, of which EUR 75m has been signed today. The loan will be extended under the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) - part of the Investment Plan for Europe - the Juncker Commission's strategy to support investments and bring back jobs and growth to Europe. It allows the EIB, the European Commission’s strategic partner in the plan, to do more lending to innovative projects.

The investment programme will consist of the construction of several NZEB residential buildings, totalling around 1,800 housing units of 95,000 sqm in total. Areas of interest would be the Helsinki Metropolitan Area and other metropolitan areas such as Vantaa, Espoo and Tampere. The construction of new NZEBs has the goal of reducing energy consumption and lowering CO2-emissions, contributing to security of supply and EU climate impact mitigation objectives.

“Investing in energy efficiency is one of the most cost effective and rational way of reducing emissions and Finland is really leading the way in this on a European and global level." said EIB Vice-President Jan Vapaavuori about the operation. “We are glad we can support VVO Group in this, and combined with earlier investments in the sector, this operation shows the EIB is serious about having the fight against climate change as a top priority. Sustainable urban development in Finland is an important topic as such, but on a more practical level it should also lead to a reduction of energy consumption for the inhabitants, thus lowering their bills.”

“A new type of energy-efficient and climate-friendly construction plays a key role when we invest in new construction and renovate existing properties. We develop and provide our tenants with new housing solutions and services that create better urban housing. Financing from the European Investment Bank promotes new growth in line with VVO Group’s strategy, and the new properties will make it easier for people to relocate in pursuit of employment in urbanising Finland.” says VVO Group’s CEO Jani Nieminen.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: "Improving the energy efficiency of buildings requires financial backing and the Investment Plan for Europe plays a key role. Supporting the financing of near zero energy homes is an excellent use of the EU guarantee and I look forward to welcoming further projects which promote the low-carbon transition."

All new buildings will be NZEBs as defined by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, through the reduction of energy consumption the project will have a positive impact on the environment by reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Energy savings of 1,721 MWh/y of primary energy are expected, which amounts to an 18% reduction compared to the current construction standards, corresponding to 321.9 ton/y CO2 savings after project completion.