Posts in the Energy and Environmental Engineering category

Text: Topias Lehtimäki (student, International Business), Trung Dang Viet (student, Energy and Environmental Engineering) and Alessandro Zocca (student, International Business)


This writing is done by students participating Tampere3 Smart Campus Innovation Lab (SCIL) summer 2017 projects. At SCIL, students from various fields and university professionals collaboratively carry out development projects that benefit the higher education consortium on a wide scale.

What does sustainable development mean to you?

There are two words that are thrown around a lot nowadays. Sustainable is one, development is another. When combined with each other, a concept called sustainable development is born. Many of you readers have heard of the concept, some of you may even be educated in the matter.

Sustainable development has many definitions by various organizations. Even TAMK has its own definition of the concept, and by the way, did you know that sustainable development is also one of the four values of TAMK’s current strategy for 2020? Because sustainable development is one of TAMK’s values, we decided to ask some of the staff and students what it means to them.

Janne Hopeela

What is your occupation here at TAMK?

Three main areas actually: I’m a student counsellor, which is my main responsibility, then I’m working with practical training; coaching our practical trainees. I’m also responsible for international coordination.

What does sustainable development mean to you?

That’s a very big question. Well of course I try to think about the small steps and things in my private life, how to recycle things, it’s an everyday thing. I really want to do my share and take care of sustainability. I’m very interested in that.

Sustainable development is a value of TAMK, how has it changed the way you perform your daily routines?

Of course it has. I have been working in TAMK for 20 years, so I’ve seen some of the changes here as well. For example, we are using more double-sided copying and at the same time we try to do less copying and use more electronic ways of circulating materials by teachers and students. The attitude towards copying has radically changed.

But then some of the things I have seen changed here when we implemented the strategy for example the kind of lights we use but of course we should be switching off more. During winter we can still see quite a lot of class rooms where there are no people inside, but lights are on. So how could everyone of us really notice that I am the last person leaving the classroom – just remember to switch off the light. Very simple things.

How, in your opinion, could TAMK develop its sustainability further?

For example, in my own office they are changing the windows at the moment. I guess it’s because it’s an old building from the 60’s and they are trying to become more efficient in finding a way to reduce the use of energy in different ways. Of course it’s quite expensive to do that. But I think in the long run it will be for the benefit of TAMK as it’s a big institution.

If we can save some costs in heating during the winter or cooling down during summer time. Money is an issue for UAS’ nowadays so if we can find ways to reduce the use of energy, let’s go for it. An example: switching off the lights when I’m the last person leaving. This is just some of the tiny things I notice in everyday life.

Paula Nissilä

What is your occupation here at TAMK?

Customer services secretary at TAMK Info Desk.

What does sustainable development mean to you?

For me it means that everyday there is something new to learn, in different ways, even at work we are improving all the time and all we do here, has become more advanced.

Sustainable development is a value of TAMK, how has it changed the way you perform your daily routines?

It has changed the way of working here at TAMK. Sustainable development is discussed constantly and the staff is trying to come out and develop new ideas to improve and also to reflect on it. Also thanks to this, sustainable development has been imprinted into my mind permanently! I try to learn more about it, because I understand that we have to save the nature somehow and at the same time intensify the elimination of unnecessary operation that isn’t helping the cause.

How, in your opinion, could TAMK develop its sustainability further?

I was in Scotland for an exchange last year (2016) and after that I have realized that maybe even here at TAMK we could for example decrease the amount of paper consumption by using more monitors instead of normal boards and banners.

Tinja and Riikka

What is your occupation here at TAMK?

We are Nursing and Healthcare students.

What does sustainable development mean to you?

Recycling and also thinking in a more ecological way come immediately to mind .

I can think about it in relation to nursing work, as well, said Tinja, when discussing about effective use of medical supplies.

Sustainable development is a value of TAMK, how has it changed the way you perform your daily routines?

At least, we are trying to use less paper and utilize more online material on Tabula, Tinja said.

Having some of the exams on screen and not on paper is helping the cause, Riikka adds, and also last summer I participated in an online course where it was possible to take part in the discussions and consulting the slides directly from home.

How, in your opinion, could TAMK develop its sustainability further?

About social sustainability; making students that are studying different subjects, cooperate together is a way to implement that, for example being able to practice with a team formed by nurses, doctors and physiotherapists is a good thing.


As it can be seen, staff members and students are already aware of what has been done and what can be done to improve sustainability. Now the question remains: is TAMK ready to take sustainable development to the next level?

Text: Arja Hautala
Photo: Tiina Suvanto

Look to the sky. The group of NASA’s Epic Challenges students. Svetlana Rybina on the right. Photo: Tiina Suvanto

Look to the sky. The group of NASA’s Epic Challenge students. Svetlana Rybina on the right.

“I was attracted by the topic: sustaining humans on Mars. Something completely new and different from what I have done before.”

Svetlana Rybina is one of 20 TAMK students taking part in NASA’s Epic Challenge programme.

Tell a bit about yourself

My name is Svetlana Rybina, I am 20 years old and I am an international student from Russia studying Energy and Environmental Engineering for the third year. This is my first degree and I am really happy that I got to TAMK, because I am having a great and interesting time here.

What made you join this space programme?

I heard about NASA’s Epic Challenge in April 2016. I was attracted by the topic: sustaining humans on Mars. Something completely new and different from what I have done before. The Epic Challenge programme seemed very colourful, promising to teach a lot about Mars and space in general.
I wanted to try building prototypes, make experiments, be involved with “space industry” as I have always found it interesting to watch movies or scientific programmes about other planets. I was sure that if I came across this project I should not miss the chance to work in collaboration with NASA, contact real astronauts, and ask them questions.

What have you learnt during this project?

Our team Marsesters worked on construction of a Mars chamber which simulates the Martian temperature range and low pressure. We managed to make one prototype which is easy and relatively cheap to build. It is not so good as we would like it to be, due to lack of funding and time, but anyway it can be used to test different products or devices meant for use on Mars.

Apart from theoretical knowledge about Mars, space, and current technologies we learnt to use methods for assessing risks. But I am mostly glad for the practical skills which I gained during the prototype construction and testing. I was so lucky to have my teammates from whom to learn!
They were really clever mechanical, production and IT engineering students full of ideas. Their work experience helped our project a lot. I also noticed that after several months of working, discussing, arguing, explaining, assembling and joking with them, I started to think more in the engineering way, which benefits me beyond this project as well.

What is the most interesting thing in this project?

Testing is definitely the most interesting part. Actually assembling the systems is pretty fascinating, but experimenting is the most exciting. In this phase you can really see the result of your work and it always gives you background for future improvement. No matter if you fail or succeed, experimenting makes you go further and continue working. Of course, it is sad if expectations are not fulfilled, but it means you will not make the same mistake next time.

I also think that the final presentation of our chamber will be interesting. I would like to hear comments from Charles Camarda, a NASA astronaut, who is the supervisor of this project.

Do you want to fly to Mars some day?

Personally, I do not want. The general idea is awesome and I want humans to fly to Mars some day, because our Earth is very well explored and we need to broaden our horizons, look for hidden resources on other planets. The status of “multiplanetary species” sounds very cool, in my view, and I would not participate in this challenge if I would be against the idea.

During the project, I have learnt enough about Martian environment to understand that it is not suitable for people now. Huge amount of work should be done to create systems and equipment for humans to stay safe on a planet where you cannot breathe and which has great temperature differences, low pressure, radiation, dust, perchlorates and many other nasty things. Best scenarios predict visit to Mars by the end of 2020s.

Such a project requires lots of resources and poses many problems. As an environmental engineer, I believe we first need to solve main problems of the Earth (in particular the energy source problem) and then with a clear conscience go to Mars. To be honest, I am not brave enough to be one of the testers of new technologies several millions of kilometres away from other people. I think that Mars flights and its colonization are more for future generations and we need to make investigations and invent technologies, which will let to sustain humans out of the Earth safely not only for them but for other planets as well.

TAMK’s NASA project

The cooperation between NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA), TAMK, and other Finnish organisations began last autumn when NASA contacted TAMK for developing innovations to enable manned Mars flights.

In the academic year 2016–2017 students solve extreme challenges related to colonisation of Mars and learn to use NASA’s innovation processes and methods. A total of 20 students from TAMK under the supervision of their teachers Antti Perttula and Tomi Salo participate in NASA’s Epic Challenge programme.