Balancing energy and people creates sustainable buildings


The key lies in finding the right balance between the focus on energy consumption, renewable energy, indoor climate and the interaction between people and buildings. 

This was the primary new knowledge generated at the workshop Sustainable Living in Buildings at the Take Lead conference on 12-13 October 2011 in Copenhagen.
As a strategic partner in the international alliance Green Growth Leaders, the VELUX Group facilitated the workshop Sustainable Living in Buildings that delivered input to the Green Growth council's work with the final output of the conference's manifest – The Greatest Story Never Told.

"The key learning from the workshop was that it is a matter of striking the right balance between energy reduction without losing sight of making buildings livable. It is an important piece of the big puzzle of sustainability," says Mark Watts, Climate Director at Arup and moderator of the workshop.

The conclusions from the workshops' three pillars– Livability, Cost / benefit and Innovation – were:

  • Livability: Everybody has a home, where they want to feel secure and in control. Sustainable buildings demand the right balance between low energy consumption, the use of renewable energy and people's interaction with the house and the technology controlling it. Cost / benefit: When we include the cost of the building over a long period and not just the construction cost, we have the financial arguments to build sustainable.
  • Innovation: We must address existing and new buildings with innovative approaches, system solutions and process design. The architecture of today has to be research-based, and every choice must be documented with calculations on its impact.

    Sustainable Living in Buildings was one out of seven workshops feeding into the Green Growth Council. The council met to discuss the output and to collate them into the manifest that will recommend how we can attain sustainable and green growth.

    "At the council we had the luxury of having a large body of evidence generated from the workshops of how business, society and cities are working together with and towards green growth," says Michael K. Rasmussen Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategic Initiative Sustainable Living, VELUX Group. He continues:

    "Since we in the western world spend 90% of our time indoors, buildings are not just a fo-cus area for the VELUX Group but for business and society as a whole. Sustainable buildings with a healthy indoor climate, whether retrofitted or new build, can increase learning ability amongst youngsters by 20%, enhance productivity in our workplaces and improve livability in our homes. This is what the VELUX Group will continue working for together with our partners and associates from Green Growth Leaders."

    This message is reflected in the Take Lead manifesto that includes both a vision of a sus-tainable society and a catalogue of concrete solutions on how to create green growth. The manifesto will be giving to the EU Commission for Climate Action, OECD, the Danish government, C40 and the UN Global Compact.

    About the VELUX GroupThe VELUX Group creates better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof. The VELUX product programme contains a wide range of roof windows and skylights, along with solutions for flat roofs. The Group also supplies many types of decoration and sun screening, roller shutters, installation products, products for remote control and thermal solar panels for installation in roofs. The VELUX Group, which has manufacturing companies in 11 countries and sales companies in just under 40 countries, represents one of the strongest brands in the global building materials sector and its products are sold in most parts of the world. The VELUX Group has about 10,000 employees and is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family. For more details, visit

    Videos with the keynote speeches giving at the workshop are available on:

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