Changes in land use, felling, and carbon stocks resulting from construction of Microsoft's Hepokorvenkallio data centre in Espoo, Finland, can be offset through forest conservation; carbon offsetting is also possible for towns and cities: research

Sample article from our R&D/Patents

HELSINKI , October 9, 2023 (press release) –

A recent study reveals that the changes in land use, felling, and carbon stocks caused by the Hepokorvenkallio data centre construction project in Espoo can be offset through forest conservation.

Illustration of the planning area from the east. Photo: Ramboll

The Master’s thesis written by Mikko Järveläinen at the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) investigated how forest conservation can be used to offset the loss of carbon stocks and sinks due to urban development.

Espoo's Hepokorvenkallio area is designated for a data centre hub covering approximately 19 hectares, owned by Microsoft and Fortum. The project mainly involves clearing the currently forested land. To offset the situation, the city is preparing to protect the Hynkänlampi forest area of 79 hectares.

The study, which utilized carbon simulations projecting 100 years into the future, modelled the impact of the Hepokorvenkallio construction project and the conservation of the Hynkänlampi forest on forest carbon stocks. According to the results, the conservation of the Hynkänlampi forest area could offset the loss of the carbon stock of roughly 16,000 tons of carbon dioxide (tCO2) caused by the Hepokorvenkallio construction project.

Carbon offsetting is also possible for towns and cities

The study also analysed the complex regulations on carbon offsetting involving forests. Even though forest conservation produces climate benefits, its legal and communication perspectives are multi-faceted.

“The issued guidelines can be interpreted so that municipalities could offset their emissions by protecting forests, while according to current guidelines, private companies cannot claim that they have offset emissions similarly to municipalities. In contrast, companies should state that they have supported Finland’s climate goals by protecting forests,” Järveläinen says.

“The rules applied to carbon offsetting and voluntary carbon markets are still under development. The Master’s thesis provides an excellent overview of this difficult theme, in addition to which its results significantly help develop the rules and calculation methods further,” says Sampo Pihlainen, Senior Research Scientist at the Finnish Environment Institute.

Land use changes to be addressed more closely in urban planning

Municipalities have ambitious carbon neutrality and emissions reduction goals, and greenhouse gas emissions must be cut rapidly to limit global warming. At the same time, urbanisation calls for significant construction projects in municipalities, which can lead to the clearing of forest areas. Such actions not only release carbon into the atmosphere but also diminish the long-term carbon sink capacity of municipalities.

“Local planning means that various goals are coordinated, and in places, preparations for growth also require current green areas to be allocated for buildings. In Espoo, local planning focuses, however, on supplementary construction, which helps us to effectively prevent the loss of carbon sinks and forests,” says Paula Kuusisto-Hjort, Planning Manager in the City of Espoo.

Further research and guidelines will be required to determine the role municipal and privately-owned forests can play in climate action. Urban planning and land-use decisions must consider a broad spectrum of factors, from ecological sustainability to social impact. Integrating the sustainable use of forest resources is a critical component of this comprehensive approach.

According to Espoo’s carbon neutrality goal, the city seeks emissions reductions of 80 per cent from the 1990 level by 2030.

“The emissions reduction goal is an ambitious one and calls for more action from Espoo, but we should also solve how the remaining 20 per cent can be sequestered in carbon sinks in our area or be offset by other means. It is important for us to understand how we can achieve emissions reductions and increase sinks in the land use sector. This study and the KUNTANIELU project as a whole give us answers to these questions,” says Liisa Kallio, Environmental Specialist in the City of Espoo.

Luke and the City of Espoo participate in the KUNTANIELU project ( coordinated by the Finnish Environment Institute. Its aim is to extensively investigate how municipalities can use offsetting based on net carbon sinks in the land use sector. The project and its results will be completed in autumn 2024. The project is part of the land use sector’s Catch the Carbon climate programme ( launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in spring 2020 aimed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of agriculture, forestry and other land use, and to strengthen carbon sinks and stocks

More information

* All content is copyrighted by Industry Intelligence, or the original respective author or source. You may not recirculate, redistrubte or publish the analysis and presentation included in the service without Industry Intelligence's prior written consent. Please review our terms of use.

See our dashboard in action - schedule an demo
Dan Rivard
Dan Rivard
- VP Market Development -

We offer built-to-order r&d/patents coverage for our clients. Contact us for a free consultation.

About Us

We deliver market news & information relevant to your business.

We monitor all your market drivers.

We aggregate, curate, filter and map your specific needs.

We deliver the right information to the right person at the right time.

Our Contacts

1990 S Bundy Dr. Suite #380,
Los Angeles, CA 90025

+1 (310) 553 0008

About Cookies On This Site

We collect data, including through use of cookies and similar technology ("cookies") that enchance the online experience. By clicking "I agree", you agree to our cookies, agree to bound by our Terms of Use, and acknowledge our Privacy Policy. For more information on our data practices and how to exercise your privacy rights, please see our Privacy Policy.