The nature center on the island of Harakka in Finland
Finland has a small educational island called Harakka. It is located a couple of minutes boat ride away from the shore in the very heart of Helsinki. On the island, there is a nature center that has an open recreation area. When the center started using renewable energy and electricity, the carbon footprint went down 60 %.
Special attention has been paid for matching the renewable energy equipment with the archipelago conditions on the island. Wind energy is utilized as an electricity source and heating is provided by solar energy and heat pumps. Wind turbines, solar collectors, and solar-powered fans are available on the island, possibly for the visitors to study them during operation.
The inhabitants of the municipality are offered programs on the island. The nature center provides information on energy-efficiency solutions, the utilization of renewable energy and displays of its forms. The center also organizes school trips for pupils from Helsinki. Teachers and educators receive supplementary training in environmental education.
Additionally, the island has the first renewable energy-themed exhibition trail in Finland, organized by the city of Helsinki. The total budget for the project is € 151,000, of which 70 % comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Keywords: renewable energy, solar energy, wind energy, heating, education, Harakka, Helsinki, Finland