Green Lighthouse – the climate-friendly building of the future – is topped out


Copenhagen University's new building, the Faculty of Natural Sciences on Nørre Campus called Green Lighthouse, will act as a beacon to guide us towards green behaviour.

Copenhagen, 26 May 2009. Copenhagen University's new climate-friendly building, Green Lighthouse, was celebrated today with the traditional Danish topping-out ceremony, with organic sausages, organic beer and a show with recyclable bottles by the Bottle Boys from last year's television show Denmark Has Talent.

With this week's debate on climate change that business leaders from all over the world are now conducting at the Bella Center conference centre, the near-completion of the building is a topical event. The building sector represents 40 per cent of global CO2-emission. Buildings of the future, like Green Lighthouse that will eventually be CO2-neutral, will help reduce this figure.

Green Lighthouse will be ready for handing over in the autumn, not long before the UN Climate Conference COP15 is to be held in Copenhagen in December. It is intended to act as a beacon in climate-friendly building and the vision of a round, climate-friendly building with minimal CO2-emissions and optimal indoor climate is well on its way from the drawing board to reality.

The will to find the solutions of the future
Lykke Friis, Vice-Chancellor of Copenhagen University says:
"When we started it all on a freezing cold morning in March last year, I am sure there were many who thought we had a very vivid imagination when we said that the building would be complete before the UN Climate Conference in December. But it will be – and not only that. Our beacon for climate-friendly building is also a manifestation of synergetic teamwork between companies, authorities and the university. And it is proof that it is possible to take fast green action if we have the will to do so.

We hope that the sustainable solutions we can now demonstrate, with beautiful architecture and a good indoor climate, will inspire others to do the same."

And as the building takes shape, the expectations of those who will soon move in are rising. The Dean of the Faculty for Natural Sciences, Nils O. Andersen, stated that the climate-friendly building will house a Faculty Lounge for students and researchers, meeting facilities and the student service function.

"We expect more than 15,000 students to pass through the doors in the course of the year. It will be very much their building and we eagerly look forward to moving in," he said.

Green Lighthouse will also act as a beacon for green behaviour in buildings. It is built to the principles of the sundial and will ensure that occupants are constantly aware of the building's energy consumption via small screens around the building.

Green Lighthouse
The sun is the pivotal point of Green Lighthouse's architectural expression. And with its green cladding, it will create a visible and attractive focal point for the area. Green Lighthouse will have its own very distinctive identity and give a new look to the whole of Nørre Campus. It will thus live up to its name as an eye-catching symbol of the campus and for the climate ambitions behind the project.

With bright and open rooms, full of balanced daylight and a good indoor climate, Green Lighthouse will be a comfortable and inviting place for its students, staff, and visitors.

The energy concept of Green Lighthouse
The over-riding energy concept behind Green Lighthouse is that it should eventually be CO2-neutral.

It will provide the arena for a completely new experiment with an energy concept that is a combination of district heating, solar cells, solar thermal heating and cooling energy and seasonal heat storage.

The concept was developed by COWI with the innovative idea of using district heating to drive a heat pump, which results in much lower CO2-impact than electricity. District heating also ensures much higher utilisation of energy as it is partially based on renewable energy sources. The energy concept will ensure maximum exploitation of sustainable energy sources and the combination of sources will harness the energy of the sun both to cool the building in winter and raise the efficiency of the heat pump in winter. The concept makes use of the solar thermal energy that is admitted through south-facing windows for under-floor heating and underground seasonal heat storage. A heat pump distributes solar thermal heating, geothermal heating and cooling effect around the building.

Facts and figures
The building's heating consumption is estimated to be in the order of 22 kWh/m2/yr. Green Lighthouse's heating supply is expected to come from the following energy sources:

  1. 35 per cent solar energy from panels on the roof and stored geothermal energy via a heat pump
  2. 65 per cent environment-friendly district heating (with a 35 per cent share of renewable energy).
  3. The heat pump raises the efficiency of district heating by some 30 per cent
  4. Most of the electricity Green Lighthouse needs for lighting, ventilation and pumps comes from solar cells on the roof.
  5. The annual district heating bill, calculated with today's figures, will be about DKK 14,000,

The energy concept will be a genuine experiment, the first of its kind in Denmark. If it is proved valid, it could be adopted in office and commercial building around Europe. And it will undoubtedly be used in future energy supplies for buildings intended to be CO2-neutral. The concept is still under development and will be adjusted and refined in the coming months.

Area: 950m2 on three floors.
Owner: The Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, and The Danish University and Property Agency.
User: Copenhagen University.
Architect: Christensen og Co Arkitekter A/S.
Turnkey contractor: Hellerup Byg.
Engineers: COWI.

Strategic partners in Green Lighthouse
Green Lighthouse is a joint venture of five strategic partners: Copenhagen University, The Danish University and Property Agency, VELUX, VELFAC and the Municipality of Copenhagen.

For more information about Green Lighthouse
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