Green ‘beacon’ breaks ground

Niki May Young
Thursday 30 Oct 2008

Copenhagen’s CO2 neutral university building will be used to encourage ‘green’ thinking ahead of climate conference

Christensen & Co Arkitekter A/S won an invited competition to design facilities for the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen with their proposal - the ‘Green Lighthouse’. Ahead of the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in the city, the building, which broke ground yesterday, is being commended as a ‘beacon’ of sustainability by the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen.

Dubbed the 'sundial' due to its cylindrical shape and adjustable façade louvres which allow light to twist around the building following the sun, the structural design is used to reduce CO2 emissions. Copenhagen X, an organisation created to encourage architectural awareness in Denmark, explain how the design is championing the way for sustainability in Copenhagen: “The Green Lighthouse is in a class of its own when it comes to commercial buildings which can call themselves CO2 neutral. The proportion between windows and facade has been carefully calculated to assure that the building will not consume more energy for heating than strictly necessary.

"The varying intensity of the sun is incorporated into the building's energy system; in summertime excess solar energy is collected in an underground store to use later when the power of the sun is at its weakest. Fresh air is drawn in through motorised windows and ventilated through the skylights to create a pleasant indoor climate, while adjustable louvers in the window sections automatically move up and down with the passage of the sun around the facade.”

Providing 950 sq m of space on three levels, the Green Lighthouse, (green both physically and figuratively), will house a student advisory, administration of the university and a faculty club. Copenhagen X say that “To put it bluntly: Copenhagen is not really dotted with prominent examples of sustainable architecture”, but it is hoped that the structure, which will emit lower CO2 emissions than it is forecast buildings will be restricted to by 2020, will help to bolster the city’s sustainability credentials ahead of the conference which is being held from 30 November next year.

Niki May Young
News Editor

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