Finnish pensions insurance giant Varma has announced plans to cut carbon emissions by half in the residential properties it owns by 2023.

The firm, which is one of Finland’s two biggest pension insurance companies – and one of the Nordic country’s largest real estate investors – said it will install heat pumps and solar panels in 36 apartment buildings.

In some buildings, geothermal heating will entirely replace district heating, it said, adding that these measures will lead to an estimated 48% fall in emissions its total housing stock by 2023.

Matti Lindfors, real estate manager at Varma, said: “These energy-saving measures are worthwhile on many levels, in terms of both profitability and environmental impacts.”

Varma said the overhaul will be carried out by eco-tech service company LeaseGreen, and include energy-saving measures such as geothermal heat pumps, solar panels and heat pumps that recover heat from exhaust air.

“The reduction in emissions in individual buildings may be a full 100%, which means in the future, residents may be living in buildings that are carbon neutral in terms of energy consumption,” said Lindfors.

The new energy solutions are to replace part of the buildings’ consumption of district heating – a form of heating which Varma said currently accounts for a significant proportion of the carbon dioxide emissions from residential properties.

Eight apartment buildings will give up district heating as early as this year, and switch to geothermal heating, the firm said.

Varma, which manages €47.4bn of earnings-related pension assets, said its goal is to cut carbon emissions in its direct real estate investments by fully switching to fossil-free heating by 2030 and electricity by 2025.

The company said it owns a total of 61 apartment buildings, containing around 4,000 flats. Overall, Varma has €4.09bn of real estate investments, including €2.99bn of directly-held properties, according to figures from the end of September 2019.