VTT is one of the global pioneers in R&D of resource efficient technologies and processes for the entire built environment. The scope of its R&D extends from single products and components to systems, buildings and communities.

The production, maintenance and use of the built environment have large impacts on the natural environment, economy and well-being. The environmental burden has grown parallel with economic growth and urbanization: these activities account for 17% of the world’s fresh water uptake, 25% of the world’s wood harvest, 40% of the world’s materials and energy flows, and 30-40% of all primary energy used. Over 80% of the harmful emissions are due to energy consumption in the urban areas of the built environment.

On the other hand, there are also magnificent opportunities to reduce the negative consequences of the pursuits of mankind, and to improve the relationship between the natural and built environments.

VTT works for a sustainable built environment that is intelligent, convenient and supportive for all. The role of information and communication technologies is fundamental in modern societies and economies. Complexity of planning and design processes requires advanced decision-making platforms that handle scenarios, user-orientation and integrated approaches. Management of material and energy flows will be based on smart grids, smart buildings and smart cities.

VTT’s scientific and technological focus on a sustainable built environment
VTT’s research and development activities aim at the technologies and processes that enable progress toward a sustainable built environment. The field is comprised of macro-economic indicators, planning of land-use and communities, design and assessments in building projects, eco-efficient products and systems, distributed energy technologies including smart grids, as well as user-oriented and user-centric approaches and role of users in processes.

VTT’s activities aim at viable district level systems in order to boost primary energy reduction and reduction of environmental impact within an urban context. The reduction of energy consumption and energy-related emissions opens up potential for both existing and completely new technologies, offering a variety of solutions that are enhanced by introducing holistic approaches.

VTT’s research and development is done mainly by experts with an engineering background, and collaboration with stakeholders and other research organisations is the norm. The integrated, multi-disciplinary methods are needed in order to respond to the urgent needs of practice, including use of energy, materials and equipment. Other key topics are local production of energy from renewable and otherwise wasted resources, and usage of intelligent networks and embedded technologies.

VTT’s key offering
The core of VTT’s offering in the built environment is the competence on life cycle performance of building materials, products, and systems, networks, and communities. This fundament is strengthened by methods of knowledge management, integrated design and delivery processes, and assessment of health and safety. Modelling methods are extensively used for natural phenomena but also for systems and even for behaviour of human beings.

VTT provides multidisciplinary R&D of technologies for sustainable buildings: low energy, passive, zero energy, energy neutral and energy positive buildings for new, refurbishment and retrofit construction. In addition to the technical solutions, we develop processes for efficient delivery of the solutions for various user needs.

VTT provides multidisciplinary R&D on technologies and processes for sustainable community structure: compacting, unifying and improvement of logistics in communities, development of transport and utility networks, including distributed energy production, storage and delivery technologies.

VTT is also an expert in assessing the consequences of climate change, particularly with respect to impact on structures, buildings, districts and utility networks. We also develop measures to mitigate the impact of climate change.