Lappeenranta (Finland)

Within Finland, Lappeenranta is known as a University City with an international character, as well as the commercial centre of south-east Finland. Lappeenranta is also described as the meeting point between the EU and Russia, as the city is roughly equidistant between Helsinki and St. Petersburg. Lappeenranta has approximately 73,000 residents and was founded during the Swedish reign in 1649 by Count Per Brahe under the rule of Queen Christina.

Lappeenranta is a strong trade city driven by major investments in basic industrial sectors. The city and companies located in the city collaborate closely with Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT), which emphasises renewable energy and environmental technologies in its research and educational activities. The world’s first 2nd generation biorefinery, which annually produces approximately 100,000 tonnes of renewal diesel, operates in Lappeenranta. 

Lappeenranta is aiming to be a resource efficient city. The city council accepted the Resource Efficiency Roadmap in December 2015, which sets out the goal of having no landfill waste, no greenhouse gas emissions, and no overconsumption by 2050. 

Currently, 72 percent of all district heat production in the city comes from renewable energy sources. Lappeenranta has also managed to decrease its CO2 emissions by 38 percent from 1990 to 2014, meeting the city council’s target of reducing emissions by 30 percent by 2020 ahead of schedule.

Sustainability focus: A model for cooperation between the municipality, university and companies

In summertime, the Kivisalmi pumping station silently cleans Minor Lake Saimaa. This cleaning pump is a unique example of cooperation between Lappeenranta University of Technology and the local municipalities, with the pumping station using a quarter of the energy required compared to previously available commercial pumps. The revolutionary pump was developed for municipalities taking part in a lake restoration project.

Lappeenranta’s overall aim is to achieve a more sustainable future. “We want to be a model city for sustainable activities. Our objective is to be carbon free, energy self-sufficient, and a waste-free city in the future,” says Lappeenranta’s Development Manager Markku Heinonen.

The Lappeenranta University of Technology is internationally renowned for its expertise in energy and environmental technology, and enjoys close cooperation with the city and local businesses. “We want to do everything to completion. The university’s efforts have gone beyond simply ‘the study’ of potential, meaning that many innovations are being brought forward towards implementation, together with companies”, said Heinonen.

By creating a platform for innovations for the Lappeenranta Technological University and companies, the city hopes to solve future energy transition and waste problems, and ensure clean water for everybody.

The need to knows

  • Lappeenranta has achieved a 38 percent decrease in CO2 emissions since 1990
  • Lappeenranta hosts the biggest inland wind farm in Finland
  • The city has decided that all new municipal vehicles should be powered by biogas or electricity. Around 15-20 biogas or electric cars will be purchased in 2017
  •  Lappeenranta's location provides easy access to the Nordic lake wilderness


  • Earth Hour City Challenge finalist, 2014 and 2016
  • Cycling City of the Year 2015
  • World’s first EKOenergy city, which results from using only EKOenergy certified 100 percent renewable electricity

What the city has to say

“We in Lappeenranta have broad-mindedly gone to town with green acts. We have pioneered several solutions for sustainable development and worked actively to ward off climate change, recycle waste and restore lake Saimaa.

Our goals are tough. We want to be a model city for environmental activities, working in the front line to achieve a more sustainable future. Our aim is that in 2050, the city creates no climate emissions or landfillable waste and doesn’t overconsume. To make it happen, we need to work together and in the end both citizens and businesses will benefit from a city adapting to the Earth’s resources

Kimmo Jarva, Mayor of Lappeenranta



ICLEI and Lappeenranta

Lappenranta has been an ICLEI Member since January 2017.



Greenreality action website for the Lappeenranta region

Lappeenranta University of Technology  

Photographs provided courtesy of the city.