DENMARK: Medvedev sees Green Lighthouse

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev visited Copenhagen last month to see the first Danish CO2-neutral building known as the Green Lighthouse. University of Copenhagen Rector Ralf Hemmingsen welcomed Medvedev to see the design of the lighthouse which reduces energy consumption by 75%.

The lighthouse was built in 2008-09 as a symbol for the future Danish building technology to be demonstrated at a meeting in Copenhagen last December. The house combines architecture, material sciences and alternative energy sources in an innovative way.

It has received great attention as a model for sustainable building construction and public-private partnerships. The house has an intelligent ventilation system, a newly developed air-cleaning filter and a heating pump that, depending on the season, produces either hot or cold air.

A device under the house accumulates and stores energy produced during the summer for use during the winter.

The Green Lighthouse is a collaborative project between Danish industry, the Ministry of Science and Copenhagen University. The house covers 950 square metres and cost DKK 37 million (US$6.3 million).

The basic area of the house is formed as a cylinder constructed to give an optimal relation between a minimum surface and a maximum volume. The sun is the dominant energy source, with movable panels in front of the windows that provide best use of the sunlight.

Cooling of the house is based on natural ventilation and the floor is made of concrete that absorbs heat. Dense walls minimise the need for heating during the cold winter.

The house has specially constructed windows in thermoglass. Lighting is by LED-lights with extremely long duration and low energy consumption.

The Ministry of Science wants to demonstrate innovative building construction as part of its response to global climate change, to develop Danish green technology and to create a world- class university environment.

Copenhagen's faculty of natural science uses the building for student services and a faculty club.

"Green Lighthouse is elegant and functional," Hemmingsen said in a statement. "We are glad that it can inspire others."

During Medvedev's visit, a collaborative agreement was signed between the faculty of life sciences and the Russian Kuban State Agrarian University. The focus will be on research, education and production of food, bioenergy and biomaterials that can lead to a more sustainable agricultural production.