Last year, we wrote about the groundbreaking of the Green Lighthouse, an exciting carbon-neutral building located at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark. Designed by Christensen & Co, the spectacular sundial-shaped structure was recently completed, making it the first public carbon neutral building in Denmark! The student services center will be showcased during the UN Climate Conference (COP15) this December, where it will serve as proof that carbon neutral buildings are possible with good design and planning. In fact, 75% of the energy reductions achieved were a direct consequence of architectural design, not fancy technology.

Continue reading below
Our Featured Videos

The Green Lighthouse was inaugurated last week after construction started less than a year ago. This first carbon neutral building in Denmark will serve as the student services building for the University of Copenhagen’s Faculty of Science. Inside, students will be able to receive career advice, study and lounge, and administration offices and a faculty club for scientists will also be housed there.

To achieve carbon neutrality, many green design features were incorporated to reduce energy use and provide a holistic and healthy indoor environment for students and faculty. Daylighting and natural ventilation are provided by means of the carefully placed VELUX skylights and windows. Additional lighting comes from LEDs, which are powered by an array of solar panels placed on the slanted roof. The building itself was oriented to maximize its solar resources, while windows and doors are recessed and covered with automatic solar shades to minimize direct solar heat gain inside the building. Additionally, a geothermal heat pump and district heating system help heat and cool the building.

Architect Michael Christensen told Inhabitat: “As architects we are pretty proud of the fact that 75% of the reduction of the energy consumption is a direct consequence of architectural design. It shows that sustainable design is not a question of stuffing the building with expensive high-tech gadgets, but that it starts with good old fashioned common sense.”

The new carbon neutral building will serve as an excellent example for the upcoming climate talks in December. The excellent video below explains the sustainable features of the project. It was made by London based Squint Opera animators and nominated for’s Best Overall Architectural Film 2009.

+ Christensen & Co Arkitekter

+ The University of Copenhagen