The innovation challenge of the circular economy cluster introduced five new solutions to be tested

In September, Helsinki’s circular economy cluster program and Motiva Services launched an innovation challenge, seeking new solutions to speed up circular economy within construction. A total of 13 companies presented their pilot project proposals during the demo day on 4 December.

This autumn’s innovation challenge sought products or services which would promote the reuse of construction components or materials. The companies participating in the challenge received sparring for the further development of their pilot proposals from experts in November, and the final solutions were presented to the audience and judges on the demo day in December.

The expectations of the judges were exceeded, and the quality of the pilot proposals presented was considered extremely high. In the end, seven companies were chosen to carry out five pilot projects together with Helsinki’s circular economy cluster in 2024.

– We hearld truly high-class pilot project proposals during the demo day. The field has developed swiftly during the past few years, and companies promote circular economy bravely in their operations. In this innovation challenge, the pilot projects were selected based on innovativity, commitment, and implementability, says Project Manager Mira Jarkko at the Helsinki circular economy cluster.

The awarded pilot project proposals

First place was divided among Kiilto Family’s Debonding on Demand method, which allows removing tiles intact when attached using glue, and ZupplySite and Spolia Design’s pilot project, which combines a digital circular economy platform with practical competence regarding the reuse of construction components.

Second place was divided among three proposals: Materialisting’s platform for making sustainable choices in construction and surface materials, Saint-Gobain Ecophon’s plan to pilot the reuse process of acoustic panels, as well as Studio MPRA Architects and Make a BIM, whom the judges wish would join forces in piloting their design tools, which utilise artificial intelligence.

Different companies developing circular economy

The innovation challenge can help spread information regarding solutions available on the market, and help companies in developing new ones. The processes, competence, and various activities related to circular economy are developed through pilot projects in the urban environment. The aim is that the solutions would be suitable for many kinds of operators in the future, instead of only the City.

Mira Jarkko is happy with the variety of companies that took up the challenge. Pilot project proposals were received from Finland and abroad, from companies ranging from start-ups to listed companies. Some of the proposed solutions were entirely digital, while others were related to tangible construction products. The one thing that all of the companies shared was the will to participate in the promotion of circular economy in construction.

A group of company representatives standing side by side at Helsinki City Hall
The companies awarded on the innovation challenge demo day at Helsinki City Hall on 4 December.

Circular economy solutions for Vattuniemi

Entire Helsinki serves as an experimental platform where companies and RDI operators experiment and develop products and services together with the City. This autumn’s circular economy cluster innovation challenge is closely related to the Vattuniemi development project, which seeks ways to carry out demolition and material circulation in accordance with circular economy.

– I can’t wait to launch the pilot projects with the companies. Our aim is to find solutions which meet the needs of both property owners in Vattuniemi and the City through joint development, Mira Jarkko says.

The innovation challenge was carried out in cooperation with Motiva Services and Vattuniemi property owners. Experts from Skanska, Bonava, SATO, Kierivä, IdeaStructura, and A-Insinöörit joined the City of Helsinki and Motiva Services in the assessment of the pilot project proposals.

The Helsinki circular economy cluster will continue cooperation in 2024 with the companies awarded on demo day. The primary piloting site is Vattuniemi, but if necessary, the City can test the solutions elsewhere, as well.

Watch a video about the innovation challenge

Photos: Ella Niemi, Business Helsinki & Mette Hiltunen, Helsinki Circular Economy Cluster

Want to hear more?

  • Mira Jarkko

  • Project Manager
    Circular Economy Cluster Program
    City of Helsinki
    Business Helsinki, Innovation services