Sanoma has moved to renewable district heat and invested in solar panels. Sanoma has also been able to materially cut the energy consumption of its properties by using AI to optimise energy consumption.

The properties managed by Sanoma include Sanomatalo in Helsinki, the Sanomala printing house in Vantaa as well as the Manu printing house in Tampere, all of which have been exclusively using renewable district heat since the start of November.

Using AI has enabled thermal regulation and heat recovery in the printing houses to be optimised as necessary, and Sanomala was able to reduce the cost of heating by 20% in 18 months without compromising on conditions.

“The traditional way is to occasionally monitor the process status to ensure that everything is working. But with AI, we have been able to monitor things such as the interdependencies of different technical building processes. For example, there is no waste resulting from simultaneous heating and cooling,” says Jarmo Viitanen, Real Estate Manager, Sanoma.

In practice, for instance, the AI used in Sanomala monitors over 50 different processes and performs continuous monitoring and prediction. The operation of AI is monitored by an energy expert and a service technician, enabling a faster response when action is required.

In Sanomala, Vantaa, energy efficiency measures were already in place before AI and, all in all, heat consumption has been halved in less than six years. Any further reductions require major investments.

“In the Manu printing house in Tampere, some minor savings are still achievable through optimisation and the use of AI but, even there, we are close to the target,” says Viitanen. 

Next spring, both Sanomatalo and Manu will invest in their own energy production through the use of solar panels. The panels will be installed in the spring, as soon as the first rays of the sun appear. As a tenant in Sanomatalo, Sanoma covers its share of the costs and has free access to the electricity generated by the power plant. In Manu, Sanoma purchases the electricity produced by the solar power plant at a fixed rate. Although Sanoma already uses fully renewable energy in its operations, using solar power promotes renewable electricity production and helps to cut costs.

The solutions are aimed at reducing the indirect greenhouse gas emissions of Sanoma’s own operations in 2023–2024 by tens of percentage points in support of Sanoma’s climate strategy. In terms of its own operations (Scope 1 and 2), Sanoma aims to cut emissions by 42% compared to 2021. Sanoma’s goal is aligned with the 1.5 degree reduction in accordance with the Paris Agreement, confirmed by the Science Based Targets initiative.

In figures, the savings translate into reducing the amount of energy needed to heat printing houses by 3,800 MWh annually, which corresponds roughly with the heat requirement of approximately 32 detached houses. In Sanomatalo, the energy efficiency project has achieved an annual saving of 1,500 MWh of delivered energy or the annual heating requirement of approximately 12 detached houses. The production of Manu and Sanomatalo’s upcoming solar power plants corresponds with the total consumption of 32 electrically heated detached houses.   

The next step is to look into optimising Sanomatalo’s processes using AI. In terms of electricity consumption and heat distribution, the situation is already in good shape. The building technology was replaced in the first energy efficiency project in 2019. At the same time, investments were made in heat pumps. The consumption of the heating energy purchased at the time was reduced by approximately 40%, while electricity consumption was reduced by more than 10%.

“With the investments, we are switching to 100% renewable energy in all of our biggest properties in Finland and, for the first time, also investing in our own renewable energy production. The measures taken are a continuation of our efforts to reduce the emissions of our own operations both in Sanomatalo and our printing houses and they will help us meet the climate targets we have set for our operations,” says Eveliina Nygren, Sustainability Manager, Sanoma.

The development work is informed by Sanoma’s sustainability strategy and climate targets. The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has approved the emission reduction targets Sanoma has set for its operations (Scope 1 and 2) and value chain (Scope 3). Sanoma’s science-based goal is to reduce the absolute Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions of its operations by 42% by 2030, compared with reference year 2021. Read more: