Tallinn University of Technology

The opening ceremony for the Ehituse Mäemaja building of Tallinn University of Technology was held on 25 August. The new study and research building is a nearly zero-energy building which was partly converted and partly rebuilt, making it the university’s most energy-efficient building and one with the best indoor climate.

“Opening the Ehituse Mäemaja building represents a significant step towards climate neutrality for the university. It is the university’s first fully nearly zero-energy study and research building where, on the one hand, students can receive a top-class engineering education and, on the other, researchers can conduct scientific research to develop energy efficiency solutions which are becoming increasingly important at a global level,” claimed Tiit Land, Rector of Tallinn University of Technology.

“In the construction of the new building, researchers were able to apply their current knowledge and experience in the field of indoor climate, energy efficiency, and timber construction. Not to mention all the new solutions which will be of significant value in the construction of nearly zero-energy buildings in the future,” explained Professor Jarek Kurnitski, Director of the Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture.

“The building uses the whole roof surface to produce solar energy, and, in order to reduce the carbon footprint, many load-bearing and non-load-bearing timber constructions have been used. State-of-the-art ventilation systems, which, in the current pandemic situation, are more important than ever, also contribute greatly to the exemplary energy efficiency and indoor climate of the building,” Kurnitski added.

The Mäepealse 3 building is home to a unique and massive Construction Test Hall, the Laboratory of Structural Engineering, the Laboratory of Roads and Traffic, the Laboratory of Building Physics and Indoor Climate, the Laboratory of Water Engineering, the Stone Cutting Workshop, the Geotechnology Student Laboratory, and regular classrooms.

Nordecon supports the training of civil engineers with 100,000 euros

At the opening ceremony, a four-year cooperation agreement was signed with a grant of 100,000 euros for the training of civil engineers and the acquisition of necessary equipment. “There is a dearth of civil engineers with a higher education both in construction management and in the design of buildings and structures. Meanwhile, construction complexity and volumes are increasing. We believe it is essential to contribute to the training of civil engineers both financially and by offering guest lectures as well as opportunities to conduct dissertations and internships on construction sites,” said Priit Luman, Member of the Management Board of Nordecon.

How did Ehituse Mäemaja get its name?

Previously the building was called Construction Test Hall (Ehituse Katsehall) after the big hall with heavy-duty concrete floors for testing large-scale constructions. The heavy-duty concrete floors of the test hall, which are nearly one metre thick and can withstand pressure from almost anything, were the only part of the old building that was retained. The test hall got a completely new shell during reconstruction. Since the building was expanded considerably to house more laboratories, the name ‘test hall’ did not seem fitting anymore, thus a survey was organised to find a new name. The name Mäemaja was proposed and it immediately sparked a discussion as to whether Ehituse Mäemaja (lit. ‘construction hill house’) is on top of the hill or sits at the bottom of it as the slope runs through the plot. At the end of the day, the hill is there and that is how Ehituse Mäemaja got its new name, reflecting the ambition of reaching the top.

Learn more about the technical solutions of the building (EST)

A laser-scanned virtual tour of the building

Address: Mäepealse 3
Construction period: 2019–2020
Total area: 3,500 m2
Price: €5.78 million (excluding VAT)
Energy performance indicator of building: 99 kWh/(m2 y) [current minimum requirement 160 kWh/(m2 y)]
Energy performance class: A (nearly zero-energy building)
Indoor climate class: I (conventional new buildings Class II)
Architect: QP Arhitektid
Builder: Nordecon AS