Green Lighthouse

The vision of Green Lighthouse was to build a sustainable building with the lowest possible CO2 emissions without compromising the aesthetic expression or indoor climate.  The result was the first public CO2 neutral building with energy consumption of 3 kWh/m2 per year, which is equivalent to only 3% of the energy consumption in an ordinary Danish home. This means that Green Lighthouse has a lower energy consumption than required by the Danish government's Energy Agreement 2020.

Designed to conserve energy

A number of initiatives have been taken to minimise power consumption. In fact, all elements from the design process to selection of materials have been designed to conserve energy. For example, the walls and the windows are highly-insulated, the blinds automatically adapt to the weather and retain heat during the winter, energy consumption is monitored by a computer, which can "close down" individual rooms or the entire building, when not being used, and cooling the building takes place using natural ventilation and concrete floors, which absorb the heat.

Renewable energy sources have been integrated into the building from the start. The roof is south-facing and covered with solar cells and solar panels for heating. The solar panels produce excess heat in the summer, which is stored in the ground, so that it can be used in winter.

The importance of the sun

Green Lighthouse was completed in 2009. The architecture is inspired by a sun dial and has the shape of a cylinder with a sloping roof that "cuts" through the shape. Along with the solar panels for heating and solar cells, the roof emphasises the importance of the sun for the building, both as a source of light and as a source of energy.

The housing contains study administration, meeting facilities and student services of the University of Copenhagen, and is situated exposed on North Campus with direct access from several directions in the park.

Experiment from small to large scale

Green Lighthouse is an experimental building just under 1,000 m2, where many different solutions in sustainable construction have been be tested. Now the Danish Building and Property Agency is testing the solutions in a building 20 times the size in order to draw experience from a large-scale construction as well.


Institution: The University of Copenhagen

Location: Tagensvej 16, Copenhagen

Developer: The Danish Building and Property Agency (the former Danish University and Construction Authority)

Architect: Christensen & Co Architects A/S

Engineer: COWI

Contractor: Hellerup Byg

Strategic partners: City of Copenhagen, VELUX, VELFAC

Year of commissioning: 2009

Area: 950 m2