Green Lighthouse
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 including teaching facilities, student advisory, administration and faculty lounge. 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, Green Lighthouse has a number of green design features incorporated to reduce energy use and provide a holistic and healthy indoor environment for students and faculty. The building itself was oriented to maximize 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 skylights and 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 and geothermal storage are just some of the technologies that are seamlessly integrated into the building. The building served as a showcase for sustainable building at the UN’s Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December last year. 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. It is a stylish, exemplary, climate-friendly construction. 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`. "With the sun as the predominant source of energy, the building's round shape and the adjustable louvers of the facade mirror the course of the sun around the building." This is how Michael Christensen, architect and director of Christensen & Co architects, explains the overriding design concept of the new building. Essential to its architectural qualities is the abundant daylight and excellent indoor climate which is achieved by the windows and atrium; that also has become the instant heart of the building. This central core provides space for social interaction, but is also a channel for letting in light and for ventilation of air which is drawn out of the building. All other rooms and functions are laid out around this central space, where the motion of the sun around the building will be reflected through the skylights. Green Lighthouse is in a class of its own when it comes to commercial buildings which can call themselves CO2 neutral. The building has three levels with a total floor space of just 950 sq.m. The proportion between windows and facade has been carefully calculated to assure that the building will not consume more energy for heating than strictly necessary. The varying intensity of the sun is incorporated into the building's energy system; in summertime excess solar energy is collected in an underground store to use later when the power of the sun is at its weakest. Fresh air is drawn in through motorised windows and ventilated through the skylights to create a pleasant indoor climate, while adjustable louvers in the window sections automatically move up and down with the passage of the sun around the facade.


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