The Global View

At Finnish ‘research hotel,’ the top amenity is efficiency

Foreign students will get more than just a place to stay while visiting the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland — they’ll also help the VTT investigate new ways to encourage people to control their home energy use.

That’s because visiting students’ accommodations aren’t any old dorm, but a new “research hotel” designed for studying energy efficiency.

Developed by VTT along with the Finnish city of Espoo, the research hotel was designed to be highly energy efficient. Equipped with rooftop solar panels, a heat pump, a heat recovery system and solar thermal collectors for heating water, it produces about one-third of its own electricity and thermal energy.

Students moving into the four-story, 52-room hotel starting this month will have their energy consumption habits monitored. At the same time, they will provide feedback to the VTT.

The goal is to create a new reciprocal monitoring model in which residents both give and receive information on their energy consumption and learn how they can influence it.