Smart & Clean Lahti

Towards a carbon neutral and zero waste city

Lahti has set itself targets of being a carbon neutral by 2025 as well as zero waste city and curbing over-consumption by 2040. Digital environment and intelligent design can create sustainable urban environments where residents can enjoy a high quality of life.

Sustainable actions deserve increased attention in the development of a smart city. Cities have important role to play in enhancing the best practices formed in the region, while also making use of well-functioning models created elsewhere.

Adaptation to climate change is being included in Lahti’s environmental work more than ever before, while the long-term target is combating global climate change.

Circular economy has became a specific focal theme in the Lahti Region and is, therefore, explicitly addressed in development work. The perspectives of residents are systematically included in the general development of the city as well as in overall land-use planning.

Sustainability, circulation and efficiency should not just be added values, they should be the core values of business people, decision makers and residents

From lake restoration to becoming a green city

Lahti has a long tradition of environmental research and pioneering sustainable development. Since starting in the mid 1970s, the restoration of Lake Vesijärvi has become a world-famous fresh water restoration project. The significant improvement of the lake is the result of persistent work carried out in co-operation with several organisations. Lahti has a strong basis of urban hydrology expertise and has served as a pioneer for many restoration methods.

During the 90s, Lahti experienced great progress in recycling and created a unique regional waste sorting and treatment culture. It launched the whole new era of recycling and material processing innovations.

Today, circular economy brings growth-oriented business to the Lahti region and new sustainable solutions are increasingly attracting global attention. Recycling starts in the kitchen, and 96% of household waste is reused. Circular economy is seemingly present in our everyday lives: material processing, resource efficiency and smart urban planning.

Recycling starts in the kitchen, and 96% of house-hold waste is reused

The balance between supply and demand

Lahti has developed world-leading excellence in different waste to energy production models. Co-operation between actors from Kujala Waste Treatment Centre and Lahti Energy at Kymijärvi has ensured that this model is profitable.

Multi-level development work between renewable energy operators has made Lahti more energy independent – another important step on the way to becoming a smart and clean city. Greenhouse gas emissions in the Lahti region have decreased by 37% over the last three decades due to local clean solutions. By 2025 Lahti aims to be a carbon neutral city.

Lahti shows world-leading excellence in a number of different waste to energy production models

Green & Urban

Sustainable urban development in Lahti means reliable monitoring, long-term planning and a variety of land-use models. Multi-level environmental work is carried out based on the needs of residents, organisations and companies.

The continuous, City Council level Master Plan is renewed every four year. It predicts and asses green growth in many ways, including overall economy, light mobility, a child-friendly urban environment, residential and living needs, and ecological urban environment.

Lahti’s land-use planning model to create a shared vision for urban and brownfield areas is innovative and unique, even at national level.

Going green in networks

Several international partnerships, development projects and environment programmes are supporting new green growth. Lahti carries out long-term climate work by adhering to 42 ongoing climate procedures as a part of the Lahti Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP). Lahti is also proudly partnering the national Smart & Clean Foundation, which aims to create a world-famous cleantech reference platform by 2020 in Finland.

Lahti becomes the European Green Capital in 2021

Lahti has gained international recognition for its dedicated environmental development and adapting to sustainable way of growing. In 2017 and 2018 Lahti was a finalist and winner for 2021 in European Green Capital  competition. The competition is organised by the European Commission annually to honour a city that has promoted the achievement of 12 environmental goals. The core messages of Lahti as a Green Capital are:

  • Locally, we engage all residents in environmental work: Lahti is your environmental city.
  • Nationally, we highlight urban environment as an important theme: let’s make a better city together.
  • Internationally, we communicate about our extensive, long-term development projects: facing the change.

Political commitment, ambitious strategic goals and long-term practical environmental activities were emphasized as Lahti applied the competition in 2019 and won the the title of European Green Capital 2021.

In 2015 Lahti received an award as part of the WWF Earth Hour City Challenge. Lahti was the Finnish winner that year and among the 16 best cities in the world.

Towards new innovations and solutions

When countries’ expenditure on R&D is viewed as a percentage of GDP, Finland comes in fourth on the list, and Päijät-Häme is among the most innovative regions in Finland. Lahti’s innovation system is based on market-led thinking, with user-driven challenges acting as triggers of innovation.

Today, Lahti is a growth centre for almost 10,000 businesses – full of opportunities in a prime location. The local ecosystem, featuring collaboration between companies, the public sector and universities is a key strength of the economy of the Lahti region.

Traditional clusters – cleantech, mechatronics and grain – have helped local businesses to reinvent themselves and revitalise the traditional fields that led Lahti to become an environmental pioneer. Circular economy, welltech and design are driving the region towards new solutions. Join Lahti’s strong networks!

The technologies of the future already exist, now it’s simply a question of finding ways to realise them.