Green Lighthouse is Denmark's first certified sustainable building


Green Lighthouse is Denmark's first carbon-neutral public building and an example of successful public-private partnership. 

It is now also Denmark's first certified sustainable building, having become the first building in the country to achieve a LEED Gold rating. The next step is certification by the new Danish certification system for sustainable office buildings, DGNB Denmark.

Two years after Green Lighthouse at the University of Copenhagen opened the doors of Denmark's first carbon-neutral public building as an example of successful public-private partnership, it has now also become the first building in the country to be certified as a sustainable building. Green Lighthouse has been given a LEED Gold rating.

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is an American system for assessing a building's sustainability. It comprises five categories that define and evaluate a building's sustainability − site and location, water efficiency, energy consumption and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor climate. Green Lighthouse has earned 68 points, which gives it a Gold rating.

"With Green Lighthouse becoming Denmark's first certified sustainable building, an important signal has been sent that innovative partnership between public institutions and private companies can create unique results in the environmental field. The Gold rating also increases the understanding of and interest in sustainable certification in the construction industry, which is important as buildings in Europe account for 40% of all CO2 emissions – so there is enormous potential for improvement," says Climate, Energy and Building Minister Martin Lidegaard (R).

Green Lighthouse, which has attracted great attention since the first sod was turned, is one of the measures taken to achieve the University of Copenhagen's objective of becoming one of the greenest campuses in Europe. In addition, the process initiated with LEED certification has helped trigger a dialogue about a broader and more holistic Danish sustainability certification system.

Inspiration for Danish certification
The partners behind Green Lighthouse (representatives of the Property Agency under the aegis of the Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building, the University of Copenhagen, the VELUX Group, VELFAC, CCO, COWI and the Municipality of Copenhagen) took into account possible LEED certification right from the design phase of Green Lighthouse; at that time, no Danish certification system for sustainable office buildings existed. Green Lighthouse was built as a demo building in connection with the UN Climate Conference, COP15, held in Copenhagen in 2009, with a sharp focus on energy consumption and renewable energy. The partnership was also very keen to monitor the building's actual energy consumption in order to optimise its operation.

"The government has the ambition for Denmark to be at the cutting edge of green technology. But good intentions are not enough on their own; what is needed are initiatives that change society and the way we think. Green Lighthouse is such a concrete initiative by any yardstick – and now we have the certification to prove it," says Climate, Energy and Building Minister Martin Lidegaard (R).

Next step − DGNB Denmark
Green Lighthouse has also been selected to take part in the pilot project for the new DGNB Denmark certification system that will grant its first certificates in mid-2012. The new Danish system takes into account all aspects of sustainability, including social, economic and climate issues.

The goal of taking part in this new certification is to arrive at the optimal building, also in terms of sustainability. It is expected that DGNB Denmark will embrace the concept of sustainability in a Danish context to a higher degree than LEED. Thereafter the two systems, their process and results will be compared to determine their value to both owners and tenants.

Green Lighthouse is Denmark's first carbon-neutral public building. It is a 950 m2, circular green building that houses the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Copenhagen University, and is home to the students' services organisation.

  • Owner: Danish Property Agency (under Ministry of Climate, Energy and Building)
  • User: University of Copenhagen
  • Strategic partners: the VELUX Group and VELFAC
  • Contractors: Hellerup Byg
  • Architect: Christensen og Co. Arkitekter A/S
  • Engineer: COWI
  • Floor area: 950 m2
  • Built: 2008-2009.

Read more about Green Lighthouse at:
LEED is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

In general terms, indoor climate is weighted with 15%, energy with 35%, site and location with 26%, materials and resources with 14% and water efficiency with 10%.

Green Lighthouse was awarded 68 point in the LEED certification, under which 60 points gives Gold and 80 gives Platinum certification.

DGNB Denmark is a new certification system that analyses a building from three dimensions that give an overall picture of a building’s sustainability: Environmental, Social, Financial.

In essence, this means that it is not just energy consumption and materials that are analysed but also indoor climate, art and spatial flexibility.

The various sustainable factors in DGNB Denmark certification are weighted as follows:

  • Environmental quality (22.5%)
  • Economic quality (22.5%)
  • Social quality (22.5%)
  • Technical quality (22.5%)
  • Process quality (10%)
  • Site and location quality (secondary quality but must be specified).

EUPD: The Green Lighthouse partners have also joined forces for the Energy-Technology Development and Demo Project (EUPD), which will monitor the building's energy consumption and make its report in September 2012. So the building is under close scrutiny, with energy consumption being monitored continuously and precise follow-up being made on the errors and irregularities noted at the running-in stage. The participation of the building's partners in the EUDP project will ensure optimal monitoring and a continuous dialogue between them.

If you would like to know more, please contact one of the partners:

The Danish Property Agency financed and owns Green Lighthouse. It managed the building process and took part in the specification of the building's energy concept and architecture:

Sajet Mahmudovski, Property Agency,, +45 41 701 204.

The University of Copenhagen is the user. It was one of the initiators of the project and has been involved at every stage of the building process, including specification of requirements:

Jacob Sølling, University of Copenhagen, Dean's Secretariat,,
+45 35 32 26 30/ +45 28 75 26 30,
Municipality of Copenhagen has been an active partner in the project. The close and accurate dialogue between the City and the owner at an early stage streamlined the planning permission process.

Rikke Houkjær, Municipality of Copenhagen, Financial Department,, +45 33 66 22 95.

The VELUX Group and VELFAC are the visionary partners of Green Lighthouse and contributed expertise, technology and products that play a crucial role in the building’s energy balance and indoor climate. The VELUX Group also acted as project manager for the steering committee.

Ghita Borring, VELUX Media Relations,, +45 45 16 48 08 / +45 51 14 08 87,

Christina Hauberg Rasmussen, VELFAC marketing,, +45 76 28 85 35/+45 29 62 40 91.

COWI provided engineering consultancy for Green Lighthouse and was responsible for energy calculations and sustainability certification.

Michael Nielsen, COWI, +45 45 97 25 31/+45 51 32 37 15.