Lumo homes provides housing to a total of around 60,000 residents, whose voice Lumo, as the lessor, wants to hear in relation to an important topic.
“We want to actively involve our residents in developing different aspects of responsibility and sustainability related to housing,” says Niina Turri, Manager, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Lumo homes. She co-hosted and moderated the sustainability discussion forum together with Communications Manager Marika Koskinen.
All residents were invited to join the discussion via the My Lumo service, and the pilot attracted around one hundred active residents from all over Finland through the months of October, November and December.
Each month, a different topic was discussed, around which the residents were given questions to answer in advance. Under the lead of Turri and Koskinen, short introductions and live chats were held around each theme, where the residents could have their voices heard.
Liisa Roth from Vantaa, Terhi Seppänen from Turku and Soili Karhunen from Kerava actively participated in the discussions.
“Everyone could express their opinions during the free-form discussions. It was also a good thing that representatives of Lumo homes were involved. We got useful comments from them, and it felt like they were really paying attention to what we were saying in order to move things along afterwards.” Lumo resident Terhi Seppänen, Turku
“This type of forum gives a sense of security for us living in Lumo homes. I think more people should have taken part in the discussion.” Lumo resident Soili Karhunen, Kerava
“Recycling is something that should concern all of us.” Lumo resident Liisa Roth, Vantaa
Correct sorting and recycling is important for the residents
The theme of October, which was sorting and recycling, generated a lot of discussion and comments. According to Turri, it has always been a theme that interests the residents. “The discussion reinforced our own understanding that sorting requires the proper tools. The discussions highlighted the fact that many kitchens in Lumo homes only have one recycling container, which is something that makes sorting more difficult. Whenever there are renovations, we update the kitchens with modern pull-out waste bins. Naturally, the new homes we build also have sorting bins with 3–4 separate containers,” says Turri.
“In our Lumo building, recycling has been organised extremely well, and we have all the recycling container types. I even dismantled my old ironing board so that I could sort the different parts into their appropriate containers. We often discuss recycling in our building’s shared coffee room. We all need to recycle to make it work.” Lumo resident Soili Karhunen, Kerava
Energy saving is a hot topic
Energy saving did not spark as much debate as sorting and recycling. Turri estimates that one of the reasons for this may be that the reasonable use of electricity has been such an ever-present topic through the autumn, both at Lumo homes and more broadly in the media. Or perhaps energy saving was a more challenging theme? Lumo homes participated in Motiva’s Down a degree campaign and targeted its own energy saving campaign at its own residents. The energy saving stories on the Lumo homes website have been popular.
“I have to remind myself to turn off the lights I don’t need. Warm water consumes a lot of energy, which is why I used a timer to try and see if I could manage a three-minute shower. It turns out, if you want to, you definitely can! My shower took 3 minutes and 6 seconds.” Lumo resident Terhi Seppänen, Turku
“You shouldn’t cover the air-conditioning vents in your home. It messes up the ventilation system. Some feel that there’s a draught and cover them. I suggested to the other residents to put their wool socks on.” Lumo resident Soili Karhunen, Kerava
More ideas were needed for promoting community
Lumo homes aims to increase the sense of community in its buildings. For this purpose, there are close to 400 Lumo teams that organise various activities in their own residential buildings. They also have their own budget for the activities. In particular, people wanted more ideas on how to develop community.
Turri says that the residents value community. When the residents know their neighbours, it increases their level of comfort and sense of security. You can ask a neighbour you know to water the flowers during a holiday or to watch the children during a trip to the market. On the same trip, you can also get the things that your elderly neighbour needs.
For the residents, community also means taking good care of the shared spaces, such as the waste facilities and club rooms.
Multiculturalism was one of the sub-themes of community. The residents hoped that more people from different cultural backgrounds could be involved in resident events. This means everyone can better understand each other.
“We felt that the activities of the Lumo team would be a good way to get people from immigrant backgrounds involved in joint activities and help people get to know each other,” says Turri.
“I’ve now twice lived in a Lumo home for a longer time, and I previously served as the chairman of the house committee (current Lumo Team Leader). I’ve organised a lot of events myself, worked on various building-related matters and talked to the residents. I still take part in the events, even though I’m not part of the Lumo team.” Lumo resident Liisa Roth, Vantaa
“At our house for the elderly, we spend a lot of time together. It creates a sense of security, even though not everyone always participates. We play cards, organise small parties and celebrate birthdays together. Then there are the Midsummer, Christmas and New Year’s celebrations, knitting club and dancing activities, for example.” Lumo resident Soili Karhunen, Kerava
“I’ve been trying to get the new residents to take part in our events. One third of the participants attend every time, and two thirds change depending on the event. We try to distribute the budget for activities across the different seasons.” Lumo resident Terhi Seppänen, Turku
Sustainability discussion forum to be continued
Overall, the sustainability discussion forum was seen as a good way of engaging in dialogue with the residents.
“We plan to continue the forum this year, although we will be organising them on a quarterly basis instead every month. We also aim to get more residents to join us. The invitations to the discussion forum will be sent to residents at the start of the year, once the themes for this year have been locked in,” says Turri.
Last year, there was a raffle for a theme-related prize every month among the participants in the discussion: an elegant sorting container (recycling theme), a remote-controlled outlet set (energy theme) and a budget for a joint taste-testing dinner at the winner’s house, where the goal was to cook the favourite dishes of different countries together (community theme).
There will surely be good discussions and pleasant surprises in store for us this year as well.
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