Green lantern

25 Feb 2010

Christensen & Co Architects completes Denmark’s first CO2 neutral public building

Green Lighthouse, Denmark’s first CO2 neutral public building, is a faculty building at the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen. The building has multiple purposes that includes teaching facilities, student advisory, administration and faculty lounge.

Essential to its architectural qualities is the abundant daylight and excellent indoor climate which is achieved by carefully placed windows and a generous atrium that also has become the instant heart of the building. In the context of education this cannot be underestimated as much research shows a potent connection between daylight and learning rates –in some cases more than 20% improved learning rates.

It demonstrates that sustainable design is not a question of stuffing the building with brazen, expensive high-tech gadgets, but that it starts with good old fashioned common sense. In fact, 75% of the reduction of the energy consumption is the direct consequence of architectural design.

To achieve carbon neutrality, many green design features were incorporated to reduce energy use and provide a holistic and healthy indoor environment for students and faculty. The building itself was oriented to maximise its solar resources, while windows and doors are recessed and covered with automatic solar shades to minimise direct solar heat gain inside the building. Plentiful daylight and natural ventilation are provided by means of the carefully placed VELUX skylights, Velfac windows and the generous atrium.

Finally, sensibly integrated state-of-the-art technology has been applied: heat recovery systems, photovoltaic panels, solar heating, LED lighting, phase change materials, geothermal heat are just some of the technologies that are seamlessly integrated into the building.

The parties involved in the project are the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the University of Copenhagen, the City of Copenhagen and the window producers VELUX and VELFAC

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