Is summer heat a climate risk to be considered in Päijät-Häme?

As we know, climate change is happening.  As a consequence, the temperatures will rise and stronger and longer summer heats waves will become more common in Finland. The average temperature in Southern Finland will rise by 1-3 degrees Celsius by the end of 2100. Because of climate change, extreme weather events are increasing, so in reality, we might face very long and very hot summers heat waves every now and then in the future.

Summer heat cause different health issues: heat exhaustion, accidents at work, dehydration, and even death. Especially the elderly, children, long-term patients, outdoor workers, and athletes are prone to the health effects of heat. In the light of history, health problems caused by the heat have decreased due to better construction technology. In Finland, approximately 200 people die prematurely yearly because of heat. Mortality clearly increases when the average daily temperature stays above 20 °C for 1-2 weeks. For example, in 2003, when Finland had some heat waves, mortality doubled. (Climate guide 2023.)

Preparation in the Päijät-Häme region

LAB University of Applied Sciences project Steps to prepare for climate change aims to increase knowledge about climate change preparation among municipalities in Päijät-Häme. One task about climate change preparation in municipalities is temperature control in municipality-owned properties. This includes e.g. kindergartens, facilities intended for the treatment of people with reduced mobility, hospitals and their medicine rooms. Tasks related to preparing for the heat include e.g. risk mapping, preparation of operating instructions and training, installation of thermometers, procurements related to preparedness measures during the heat wave and their maintenance.

Link to the website of Steps to prepare for climate change project.

In the Päijät-Häme region, a survey was conducted in care units about their preparedness for summer heats. Around 80% of the respondents experienced challenges with indoor temperatures. Also around 80% of the respondents had a plan for heat preparedness. Temperatures in common areas were monitored daily in around 50% of the units, but 40% of the respondents also said, that they do not monitor or they do not know about monitoring the temperatures in the residents’ rooms. 96% of the care units had prepared for the summer heat with technical equipment, like fans and portable cooling equipment. (Hollolan kunta 2023.)

What could be done next?

In some cases, care units operate in properties owned by municipalities. That usually means, that the municipality is responsible for the technical condition of the building. Municipalities and care units could do co-operation in risk mapping and action proposal planning. In addition to the interior spaces, the exterior spaces of buildings, such as kindergarten yards, can be designed to prevent heat damage, e.g. by means of green construction. This also reduces the need to cool the indoor spaces.

A Swedish street, in which the temperature in sunny spots is 43-46 degrees Celsius and in shadowy spots 14-23 degrees Celsius.
Image 1. The effect of green infrastructure can be seen in temperatures. (Picture: adapted from Ågren 2023)

The municipalities will need more information about the costs and benefits of the green infrastructure. Steps to prepare for climate change project could act as a mediator of that information.


Kaisa Tuominen works as a RDI Specialist at LAB University of Applied Sciences and focuses on climate change preparedness and mitigation.


Climate guide. 2023. Direct health effects of climate change. Cited 22 Sep 2023. Available at

Hollolan kunta. 2023. Hellehaitta-projektin tulokset ja ohjeita hoitolaitoksille. Cited 26 Oct 2023. Available at:

Ågren, K. 2023. Hot-parking wheel. Cited 25 Sep 2023. Available at


Link 1. LAB University of Applied Sciences. 2023. Steps to prepare for climate change. Project website. Cited 25 Sep 2023. Available at