Helsinki welcomes showcase of green construction technology
The Embassy of the United States in Helsinki is planning to set up a new innovation centre on the embassy compound in the cityÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Kaivopuisto area.
The aim is to showcase construction technologies which improve energy efficiency.
The centre is part of a US project aimed at making the countries embassies models of energy efficiency and environmentally friendly construction.
US Ambassador Bruce Oreck explained the plans to build an innovation centre during a seminar of influential economic figures held in JyvÃƒÂ¤skylÃƒÂ¤ on Saturday.
The US Embassy in Helsinki is undergoing an extensive renovation. The project, which is due for completion in 2014, costs about 100 million dollars, or approximately EUR 75 million. It is to include an innovation exhibition.
Press AttachÃƒÂ© David McGuire says that the Americans hope to turn the embassy into the worldÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s greenest. He added that the required security technology raises the costs.
The final plans for the changes at the embassy compound will be completed in about two weeks after the necessary permits are secured from the City of Helsinki.
Hannu PenttilÃƒÂ¤ (SDP), the Deputy Mayor responsible for zoning issues, says that the new building will require a change in zoning.
He says that the city takes a positive view of the project, but that the matter needs to go through the proper channels.
PenttilÃƒÂ¤ also points out that zoning issues involve certain complications. The land where the embassy is located is sovereign territory of the United States. The area has a number of other embassies, and it is considered to form an important part of HelsinkiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s urban landscape.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“For instance, the residential building of the Russian Embassy, which is now under construction, involved a lengthy process, and some people might still remember the Iraqi Embassy project in Kulosaari. These are sensitive issues for both sidesÃ¢â‚¬Â, PenttilÃƒÂ¤ says.
Discussions have touched upon issues such as the planned height of the building. Helsinki reportedly would like the new building to be lower than what the Americans have proposed.
The aim of the innovation centre in its early stages will be to showcase the construction innovations used in the renovation. Later the exhibition is to be updated with new inventions and technologies.
David McGuire does not yet want to know how open the exhibition space will be, in light of security measures which restrict access to US diplomatic missions.