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Energy efficiency in buildings

Energy efficiency

Indoor air quality

Living Places: Building low-carbon and more sustainable buildings

23. June 2023

Solution provider


For more than 80 years, the VELUX Group has created better indoor environments by bringing daylight and fresh air into homes and other buildings all over the world. The VELUX Group was founded in Denmark and is today an international company with a presence in 37 countries.

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Living Places is a new way of thinking about how to build in the future. The project by VELUX Group, EFFEKT and Artelia explores how the building industry can support the health of the people and the planet through building design that is scalable, affordable and commercially viable. It arose by looking at the most common Danish home, and asking how materials, construction, utilities, and architecture could be rethought towards building homes with less impact on the planet. With Living Places, VELUX GROUP wanted to demonstrate that it is possible to build attractive homes, while reducing the carbon footprint by two-thirds compared to the typical Danish single-family house.

As the goal is to build within the Science Based Targets Initiative limit of 1.5 degree rise in global temperatures.


To document the environmental impact of a building’s life cycle from design, manufacturing, use and maintenance, to renovation and demolition, The Compass Model, a Life Cycle Assessments calculator, was developed, enabling an assessment of materials already in the design phase.

“Living Places seeks to create a housing typology that is affordable to build at scale and healthy to live in, with an ultra low carbon footprint — using only current technology and materials. It aims to lead the way within the building industry and show how rethinking buildings can help solve some global climate and health challenges.”

Seven building prototypes have been produced, built of materials with low or positive CO₂ impact and a focus on reuse, and recycling of materials such as wood fibre insulation material and screw pile foundations. As the design features mechanical joints, the structures can be disassembled at the end of their lifetime. The prototypes furthermore hold the lowest CO₂ emissions in Denmark.

Living places

Photo credit: VELUX


The blueprint for Living Places considers the elements of sustainable living in a holistic manner; daylight, biorhythms, acoustics, air quality, thermal environment and the relation to the surrounding nature are all interwoven and incorporated in the design. Living Places Copenhagen has a CO₂ footprint that is three times smaller than the average Danish one-family house. The project has been awarded a best-in-class indoor climate for its use of daylight and fresh air and demonstrates that we do not have to wait for future technology to build more sustainably now. Velux GROUP hopes that the project can inspire the construction industry to follow suit, as it shows that the materials and solutions are already here, they just need to be utilized.

The prototype building, BoligVærkstedet, is located in Jernbanebyen in Copenhagen and demonstrates a new path for the construction industry that benefits both the people and the planet.

White paper: Urban green transition

This case is a part of the white paper “Urban green transition”:

A 40-page showcase of why holistic and strategic city planning and development within mobility and infrastructure, climate adaptation, as well as environmentally conscious architecture and construction, must take centre stage in the transformed cities of tomorrow.

Explore the white paper