The future of housing and living services

Urbanisation and the services enabled by it will help people reduce their carbon footprint. Read on for examples of two 2030s households!

Smarter homes are just around the corner. They differ from most of today’s homes in many ways, including the use of technology that makes it possible to react to upcoming weather in advance.

If the forecasts indicate that warm weather is on the way, the heating of the housing company can be adjusted proactively to reduce energy consumption and increase living comfort. Blinds can also be automatically closed before the sun hits the window. Reacting to the conditions does not require the residents to walk around their apartments with a tablet device in hand.

“The smart features are hidden from the residents, adapting to their lives and anticipating situations before they occur”, says Marko Oinas, Vice President, Strategy & Development at YIT.

A young family with children in a smart home

For a family with children in the 2030s, saving energy with the help of a smart home is routine and an important part of the family’s values.

For families with children, local services are important today and they will still be important in the future. Using local services means you don’t need to own a car, which reduces emissions. When you do need a car, you can borrow one.

“At Tripla in the Pasila district of Helsinki, for example, there will be several electric cars for shared use, so people don’t necessarily need to own a car anymore. The shared cars are a great solution for taking care of errands”, says Senior Vice President Pekka Helin, who is in charge of Living Services at YIT.

YIT is already introducing living services at apartments and residential properties, and the range of available services will be even more extensive in the 2030s. Urbanisation makes it easier to create services.

“In a dense urban centre, such as Tripla in Helsinki’s Pasila district, it’s easy to create services for residents that make daily life more convenient. For example, we have agreed on cooperation with shops at Tripla to allow the residents to order products and have them delivered to their homes”, Helin explains.

Helin points out that the housing companies in Tripla also include a fitness centre, and an equipment borrowing service is also in the works.

“The apartments are compact and people want to have fewer physical possessions. The residents will have the opportunity to borrow, in exchange for a small fee, rarely needed tools and equipment such as steam cleaners and power drills."

An elderly couple monitors their water consumption

And how does an elderly couple live their life in the 2030s? YIT recognises a clear trend of ageing people moving to cities at a younger age to be close to local services. This way, they can familiarise themselves with their new neighbourhood while they still have a lot of energy, and this also allows them to sell their old apartment without having to rush things.

YIT is currently considering ways to allow people to live in their homes for as long as possible, including what types of services and community spirit housing companies should have. Many of the features of YIT’s apartments, such as accessibility, central location and the design and versatility of the space already support the goal of living at home for a long time, but new solutions will also be introduced at an accelerating rate as we move towards the 2030s.

At Tripla, for example, shared facilities foster a strong sense of community. A spacious park for residents lies between the buildings and, at the tops of the buildings, there are shared sauna facilities and terraces. The village hall Greija will be built in the middle of the residential block to host various functions such as group exercise, a home theatre and an event space. The use of the village hall will be planned with the help of resident surveys and other forms of engagement.

“We are currently thinking about what kinds of services we could offer to elderly residents to allow them to keep living in their homes for longer, even as they need more assistance", Helin explains.

YIT has provided a service market online for residents for several years now.

“Through the YIT Plus portal, our customers can easily and conveniently order various services related to housing and living, such as renovation, removal and cleaning services”, Helin adds.

Easy living

In the future, residents of YIT Homes can create a personalised living experience and access all of the related services in one place. The process will start with establishing a picture of the resident’s needs to enable them to buy a customised service package. The monthly fee will then include the owner-occupied or rented apartment as well as the desired additional services.

“We want to do everything we can to reduce stress for people when it comes to housing and living. We want to make it as easy for them as possible”, Helin says.

With consumers finding it increasingly important for their lifestyle to be in line with sustainable development, services to promote sustainability are also in the works. As new apartment buildings are energy-efficient to begin with, water consumption is a key area when it comes to saving energy.

“Some of the residents want to do a lot to save energy”, Helin adds.

Living in the city reduces the carbon footprint

By deciding to live in a new energy-efficient apartment building with good transport links and not having to own a car, you can say you have chosen a lifestyle that is good for the environment. Sara Lukkarinen, an expert on sustainable mobility at Motiva, points out that mobility represents one-third of the total carbon footprint of Finns.

“The climate impact of giving up car ownership depends on how much the car was driven and what it was powered by. The impact is greater if you previously drove long distances.”

Energy efficiency expert Päivi Suur-Uski from Motiva says that energy consumption is globally the largest cause of climate change.

“Living in an energy-efficient apartment building saves money and the environment. When you live in a more compact home, there is less space that needs to be heated.”

The use of automation is increasing in new apartments. When you go on holiday, for example, technology can help adjust your heating and ventilation to a more economical level.

“This saves not only energy but also money. And there’s nothing you need to remember. Automation takes care of it”, Suur-Uski adds.

There are large-scale construction projects under way in Finland’s biggest cities to support infill development and increased density. The population of Finnish cities will grow by hundreds of thousands in the near future. Many new and old residential districts are becoming increasingly urban.

“When you need less infrastructure and public transport development reduces distances, you save energy, materials and money”, says Juha Kostiainen, Executive Vice President, Urban Development at YIT.

“There are also more opportunities for services when there are many potential users. People appreciate having everything close by.”

Tripla will have more than 400 apartments

Located in Helsinki’s Pasila district, Tripla is a major YIT project consisting of three blocks, which include a shopping centre (Mall of Tripla), parking facility, public transport station and hotel — all of which have already been completed and are now open — as well as apartments and offices.

When fully completed, Tripla will be home to more than 400 apartments and jobs for 7,000 people.

(PHOTO: Jukka Fordell)

Originally published in the Ideat supplement in Helsingin Sanomat:

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