Kimmo Rönkä

Placement Host | Malta (2014-2017)

Knowledge transfer, Renewable energy, Sustainability

Who are you?

Kimmo Rönkä has worked for most of his career in the housing sector and currently works as a consultant. He has also worked as a researcher in the Technical Research Centre VTT and as a Director in the Future Home Institute at the University of Art and Design. Whilst CEO of the social housing organisation Setlementtiasunnot he worked with four Pioneers as a placement host.

Kimmo decided to be a host as he valued the involvement of creative ideas from Pioneers interested in sustainability but from outside of Finland and the housing sector.

“I had such great memories from Climate-KIC. It was important, innovative and fun”
“I enjoyed working with these talented and motivated people from different countries”
What did the Pioneers do?

The Pioneers came with tools from diverse backgrounds and a focussed time to concentrate on particular climate challenges. Kimmo recognised that his organisation could benefit from these new ideas and positive culture. Pioneers came from France/Iran, Germany and Hungary.

The work included a feasibility study into the installation of solar PV, roadmap for sustainability, feasibility study for using sea water for heating and a feasibility study for electricity storage. After approval of the feasibility study for the installation of solar PV, Kimmo’s organisation installed the PV which was the largest solar PV installation on social housing in Finland.

The feasibility study for energy storage had to be very carefully designed for Finland’s solar radiation variance across different seasons. The storage system was designed to be matched to a solar PV system to provide better use of the renewable energy whilst also being affordable and efficient. Setlementtiasunnot considers the concept to be beneficial for urban regions across Finland and could advance the use of renewable energy significantly. The Pioneer and host plan to continue to co-operate in the future with the Pioneer acting as a design consultant for Setlementtiasunnot.

What did you learn?

While the Pioneers bring creativity and innovation, it is important for them to have a very clear plan of what is expected to be achieved. When the Pioneers produced a well-researched feasibility study, this was extremely helpful for the organisation. The feasibility studies do not just tell the organisation if it can proceed with a project but sometimes it is just as important when the feasibility study changes expectations or generates different ways of working.

Kimmo feels that it helped that Pioneers were installed into teams and regarded as staff members during their placement. This gives more value to their work and links it more closely to the core work of the host.

How was your experience with Pioneers?

Having Pioneers working in Setlementtiasunnot allowed Kimmo to have very innovative discussions about new ideas that generated a lot of energy. As the Pioneers are only based with the host for one month, they operate quickly meaning they need a host who can respond equally quickly, and this can certainly generate extra energy within the host organisation.

The placements were the opportunity to put innovation into action. Setlementtiasunnot also got good publicity from the placement activities including newspaper articles.