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Green By Design

From ladybirds to super-cycle lanes – energy and environment often play a key role when new buildings and urban districts are planned, designed and built. We have selected a range of examples from Denmark and abroad.

Research by Anne-Marie Mosbech, Focus Denmark no. 4 2012

Trees cool software firm

Trees cool software firm

Los Angeles, California
Staff and visitors at the headquarters of Environmental Systems Research Institute Inc. keep their cool by means of trees planted around the buildings. The trees function both as sunscreening to reduce the need for energy-consuming cooling, and as pockets of greenery which have a temperature-lowering effect in the urban area.

Status: Completed in 2009.
Architects: Hvidt.





Merging two types of portMerging two types of port

South of Nuuk, Greenland
Instead of viewing two major infrastructural investments as separate activities, the idea is to combine an airport and harbour in one project: AIR + PORT. A combined transport system will provide energy-saving synergy effects between air and sea transportation, for example by avoiding the need for trucks and trains which normally connect an airport and a harbour.

Status: On the drawing board.
Presented at the international architecture biennale in Venice in 2012.

Architects: BIG and Tegnestuen Nuuk.


The future ferry terminal in StockholmTaking up space, but providing a park

Stockholm, Sweden
The future ferry terminal in the urban harbour district Norra Djurgårdsstaden will reduce the size of the harbour by 16,500 square metres, but will instead create a new park on the roofs of the buildings. The green roofs reduce the need for cooling in the buildings and delay the drainage of rainwater so that the strain on the sewerage system in periods of heavy rainfall is minimised.

Status: Construction to start in 2013.
Inauguration in 2015.

Architects: C.F. Møller.


Copenhagen, Nordhavn


Easing the way for cyclists and pedestrians

Copenhagen, Denmark
In Nordhavn, a newly developing urban district of Copenhagen, an eight metre wide super-cycle lane and a maximum 5 minute walk to the closest Metro station will make it quick and easy to choose an environmentally friendly form of transportation instead of using a car. When the district has been fully developed in 2030, it will provide housing for 40,000 people as well as 40,000 workstations.

Status: Under construction.
Architects: Cobe, Sleth, and Polyform.



Green district in the desert

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The King Abdullah Financial District is both the world’s largest green development project and the first urban development project to be awarded Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. Drawing on the country’s own design traditions in natural ventilation, the cooling winds from the north and a strategic positioning in the landscape are exploited to lower the local temperature by up to 5°C (9°F) in summer.

Status: Under construction.
The first buildings will be taken into use in 2013.

Architects: Henning Larsen Architects.


Facades provide shade

Mumbai, India
The facades of two residential blocks to be built in the Indian metropolis will be wave-shaped, with the tops of the waves providing shade for the troughs. Enhanced by the building’s orientation, the design will reduce the direct influx of light by 49 percent compared with a conventional flat facade, thereby lessening the need for cooling with energy-consuming air conditioning.

Status: Construction to start in 2013.
Inauguration in 2015.

Architects: 3XN.


Ventilation systemVentilation system uses sea water

On the harbour front of Denmark’s second largest city, the ground has been broken for Dokk1 – a new multimedia building which will also house a library. The aim is to achieve a low-energy classification for the building by using cold sea water instead of air for the ventilation system.

Status: Under construction.
Scheduled for completion in 2015.

Architects: Schmidt Hammer Lassen.



Ladybirds at work

The 26 black olive trees to be planted in the hall of the Technical University of Denmark’s new building will be accompanied by 1,000 ladybirds to keep the trees free of aphids. In addition to being part of the architectural design, the CO² consumed by the trees will reduce the air exchange load on the building’s ventilators.

Status: Under construction.
Completion expected by the end of 2012.

Architects: Christensen & Co.


Old bricks for a new school

A school in Sønderborg has the distinctive feature of being constructed almost entirely from used bricks. The 60,000 bricks correspond to a 30 ton saving in CO² emissions. The building is Denmark’s first Energy Plus school – which means that it produces more energy than it consumes.

Status: Completed in 2012.
Architects: Aarhus Arkitekterne.


Skejby wind turbineWind turbine giant’s HQ uses solar

and geothermal energy

The district plan for Skejby, where wind turbine manufacturer Vestas is headquartered, does not permit the establishment of wind turbines. So instead Vestas has installed Denmark’s largest geothermal energy system comprising 36 kilometres of earth tubes, as well as rooftop solar panels. Vestas HQ has been awarded LEED certification in the top category, Platinum.

Status: Completed in 2011.
Architects: Arkitema.