A lighthouse for the climate just opened at the University of Copenhagen


Green Lighthouse is Denmark's first public CO2-neutral buildingDenmark's first public CO2-neutral building just opened. The new building, Green Lighthouse, was inaugurated on the 20th October 2009 and serves as an example in several ways.

The house is actually a lighthouse in more than one sense. It is a green lighthouse of CO2-neutral buildings up to the UN Climate Conference (COP15); It is a lighthouse of efficient public-private cooperation; and last, but not least, it is a lighthouse for the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen, which will see its student services consolidated under one roof.
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.

Green sense
Green Lighthouse will be used by students at the Faculty of Science. In student services they will be able to get information concerning everything from career guidance to exams and subjects. Furthermore, a faculty club for scientists, and others affiliated with the faculty, will be housed in Green Lighthouse.
Pro-vice chancellor at the University of Copenhagen and chairman of the Green Lighthouse steering committee, Lykke Friis states;- With Green Lighthouse we have proven that it is not rocket science, but primary common sense to construct carbon neutral buildings. The design concept of the house alone contributes to an energy use reduction by ¾.The unique design involves the optimal use of daylight, an automatic ventilation system and an automatic cooling and heating system. The orientation of the building, with regards to the sun, means that we can take full advantage of solar energy. With Green Lighthouse we kill two birds with one stone; we combine futuristic carbon neutral construction with a modern study and research environment.

A Green Lighthouse
Green Lighthouse was constructed in less than a year. The innovative and climate friendly energy concept of the house will bring attention to Danish competencies regarding sustainable building and public-private partnerships when the UN Climate Conference is held in Copenhagen in December.
Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Helge Sander states;- Everyone who has had a share in the Green Lighthouse project has every reason to be proud today. It is a stylish, exemplary, climate-friendly construction, which will help focus the attention on Danish know-how during the forthcoming climate summit. At the same time, the building can serve as inspiration to other universities and builders, while also contributing to the construction industry's knowledge base of sustainable building solutions. Let me also congratulate the students and staff of the University of Copenhagen, whom I am convinced will take both pleasure and pride in this great new building.

Top quality indoor climate
Green Lighthouse's pivotal point and primary energy source is the sun. The house is 950 m2 and is constructed according to the active house principle, meaning that it generates energy. It has its own energy supply containing a combination of solar energy, heating pumps and a district heating never seen before. Green Lighthouse is an energy-efficient building of high architectural quality, allowing a great amount of daylight to enter. The natural ventilation assures plenty of fresh air and a healthy indoor climate.
Through energy design and visionary architecture, the building's energy consumption is reduced by around 3/4 compared to present building standards. This means that the building is categorised as a class 1, low energy building according to Danish building regulations (BR 08).
Strategic partner, VELUX Group A/S, CEO, Jørgen Tang-Jensen states;- Green Lighthouse is an excellent example of the standard we can achieve in future buildings. The house demonstrates that we can construct buildings that are climate friendly and functional at the same time. We have built a climate friendly house that offers fresh air and good daylight conditions. It is possible to build a climate friendly house with the standard building components that we already use today.

A green city
The carbon neutral Green Lighthouse uses architecture, building components and energy consumption in new and innovative ways. Using this combination, the parties involved have created a lighthouse for CO2-neutral building projects, and the unique partnership between public and private in this endeavour will exemplify future sustainable projects in the public sector.
Lord Mayor, Ritt Bjerregaard, City of Copenhagen, states;
- With Green Lighthouse we have demonstrated that it is also possible to build CO2-neutral structures when it comes to office buildings. Green Lighthouse is a perfect example of reaching great heights through new partnerships. In the City of Copenhagen, we are proud to show future building owners how they can contribute to making the city CO2-neutral.
Green Lighthouse is located on Tagensvej 16 in Copenhagen.
For further information, please contact; Charlotte Brix Andersen, Rector's Office,, +45 28 75 41 04 or Jacob Sølling,, +45 2875 2630 High resolution photos from the opening of Green Lighthouse can be downloaded from;

Facts about Green Lighthouse
Green Lighthouse is Denmark's first public CO2-neutral building. The house is a 950 m2 green, circular building housing the Faculty of Science at the University of Copenhagen. Green Lighthouse is a house for students. This is where the faculty's student services will be consolidated under one roof, and students can seek advice concerning career guidance, exams and subjects etc. Furthermore, a faculty club for scientists and others affiliated to the faculty will be housed in the building.

Green Lighthouse is the result of a public-private cooperation between the University of Copenhagen, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, the City of Copenhagen and VELUX and VELFAC.

Building owner: the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation
User: The University of Copenhagen
Turn-key contractor: Hellerup Byg
Architectural concept: Christensen og Co. Arkitekter A/S
Engineering concept: COWI
Size: 950 m2
Construction year: 2008-2009
Price: 37 million Danish kroner

How Green Lighthouse reduces its energy consumption
The building is cylindrical in order to ensure the ideal conditions between minimum surface and maximum volume.
The cylindrical shape and adjustable façade louvers allow light to twist around the building following the sun. In this way, the optimal generation of energy is ensured. The sun is the house's main energy source.
Cooling of the building is made possible with natural ventilation and thermo-active concrete floors absorbing the heat. Natural ventilation takes place through the upper part of the windows that open and close automatically in order to allow fresh air to enter; no electrical powered systems are therefore needed. The heated air rises through the centre atrium of the building and exits through the skylights. Skylights are also used during the warm season to cool down the house during the night.
Solid constructions and heavy-duty insulation of walls and roof reduce heating demand. Phase change material guarantees that the house will detain the heat during the night.
Windows with thermo glass minimize the heat loss, and at the same time, ensure that the sun heats up the house during the winter. The lighting source is based on a light emission diode system characterised by a long life and low energy consumption. Energy for basic lighting is generated by the building itself. Instructions for low energy products will be made for the users of the building.

Renewable energy sources in Green Lighthouse
The roof is tilted to the South in order to create the greatest exposure to the sun- the house's primary energy source. The roof is covered with solar cells and solar panels.Solar cells generate the electricity. The electricity generated is used to power pumps, lighting etc.
The variation in the solar energy generated, is integrated in the energy system of the house. Heat is accumulated in the thermo-active concrete on the ground floor and functions as the buildings main "radiator" during winter. In summer excess energy is stored underground and used in periods with less sun light exposure.
The variation in the solar energy generated, is integrated in the energy system of the house. In summer excess energy is stored underground and used in periods with less sun light exposure.

Daylight and indoor climate conditions in Green Lighthouse
A good indoor climate is important for the health and well-being of the people living and working in our houses. Unhealthy indoor climate can result in headache, indisposition, but also serious health issues such as allergy and asthma. It is fresh air, natural light and a nice view that makes a building comfortable to work, study or live in. Studies show that a healthy indoor climate has a positive impact on absence due to illness.
Daylight is the primary light source in Green Lighthouse. In technical terms, the daylight factor should be at least 3% in all working stations and minimum 2% in hall ways. This means that daylight is evident in all rooms. Due to the construction of the automatic window shades, sunlight is reflected deeply into Green Lighthouse.
The natural ventilation ensures fresh air in the house. The upper part of the windows opens and closes automatically, in order to let in fresh air. The heated air rises through the centre atrium of the building and exits through the skylights. The heating and cooling solutions in the house help keep a pleasant temperature in the house all year long.

Partners' roles

The University of Copenhagen is user of the house. Students in particular will be using Green Lighthouse on a day-to-day basis. The University is one of the originators of the project and has been part of the entire building process including drawing up the requirement specifications.
The City of Copenhagen has been an active partner in the process. The close and efficient cooperation between the City of Copenhagen and the building owner has from an early stage ensured an optimal authorisation process.
VELUX and VELFAC are visionary partners in Green Lighthouse and have contributed with expert competencies, technology and products, all having a significant importance for the energy balance and indoor climate in the house. VELUX has, furthermore, been project manager for the steering committee.

The Financing of Green Lighthouse
Costs related to the building of Green Lighthouse are 37 million Danish kroner.The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has financed 33 million Danish kroner.VELUX, VELFAC, Windowmaster and Faber have contributed with 3.5 million Danish kroner in terms of building components and technology.
Rockwool, Veksø, Knauf and Danogips have contributed with building material for 500,000 Danish kroner.
The University of Copenhagen pays a standard rent for the use of Green Lighthouse.