U.S. Embassy Helsinki’s Innovation Center
The U.S. Embassy in Helsinki was thrilled to unveil the Innovation Center on February 26, 2013. Through the vision and drive of many people, including Ambassador Bruce J. Oreck, the support of the Department of State and the efforts of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations, this renovation of existing historic building provided critical life safety upgrades, needed improvements to aging infrastructure, and resulted in one of the most energy efficient buildings in the Department’s portfolio. The Innovation Center exemplifies the principles supported by the Department’s Greening Diplomacy Initiative and is a model for eco-diplomacy.
The Innovation Center is part of a larger project to improve mission operations. The improvements have greatly increased the security of the building’s occupants and visitors. As with all Department of State construction and major renovation projects, the Innovation Center design process included a careful process to determine the best technologies and strategies to use. Our goal is to reduce short-term and long-term operating costs, while ensuring the building will be high performance long into the future. We invite anyone interested in touring or arranging an event at the Innovation Center to contact us.
What is the Innovation Center?
The Innovation Center houses the public offices of the U.S. Embassy in Finland. Their work includes advancing the Department’s Economic Statecraft Initiative and promoting an active, robust trade and investment agenda in Finland and the region. In addition, the Innovation Center provides a venue for a wide range of public programming, information sharing, and networking to discuss the opportunities and global challenges that we look to address through our partnership with Finland. The Innovation Center is a clear demonstration of America’s commitment to improving the relationship between the built and natural environments. It presents a new face of U.S. diplomacy - an open, inviting, and welcoming venue in one of the city’s most beautiful locations.
Investment in Finland
Our investment of more than 125 million dollars in this unique project is a strong statement of America’s deep and lasting relationship with Finland.
The Innovation Center is projected to reduce energy costs by 46 percent. This is accomplished through the use of municipally-provided energy from a district hot water and chilled water lines alleviating the need for the embassy to purchase and maintain chillers; natural ventilation; a “cool” roof; automatic daylight diming Light Emitting Diode (LED) and Organic LED (OLED) interior and exterior lighting, and air-side economizers. Further, a significant amount of the chilled water is sourced directly from the Gulf of Finland, utilizing a local, natural resource while reducing cost and green house gas emissions. The energy, water, and greenhouse gas emissions saving strategies have positioned the building to earn LEED Platinum Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. We also anticipate dramatic reductions in maintenance costs, and those savings will Embassy Helsinki will be tracking in the years to come.
It’s your space too
The Innovation Center is envisioned as a tool to unlock more in our relationships with our Finnish and regional partners. There are many additional opportunities for trade and investment, information sharing, and collaboration between the United States and Europe. The Innovation Center is an ideal place to talk about the leading edge in a beautiful, environmentally friendly setting. It also serves as the Embassy’s primary location for meetings, networking, press availability, and cultural programming.
The Innovation Center is a model for 21st century diplomacy. It is a space to address progressive “economic statecraft” goals, by bringing trade, investment and commercial diplomacy to the forefront. This isn’t limited to a “dollars and cents” vision, as the Embassy looks to partner to find creative approaches to important social issues. Work in this first-of-its-kind diplomatic structure is aimed at further strengthening overall U.S.-Finnish relations, increasing our joint potential, and opening regional opportunities.
Let the Work Begin!
- How did the League of Green Embassies originate? What about the bipartisan nature of this Green Embassy initiative? An excerpt of a interview with Bruce J. Oreck, U.S. Ambassador to Finland and Michael M. Wood, former U.S. Ambassador to Sweden. Watch the YouTube video (1:55)
- U.S. Ambassador to Finland Bruce Oreck explains about the renovation project, which will transform U.S. Embassy Helsinki into one of the greenest U.S. embassies in the world. Watch the YouTube video (0:58)