08 Dec 2022

Living Places Copenhagen first learnings

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Photo: Andreas Bo

The partnership behind Living Places Copenhagen, which in practice will demonstrate the way to three times lower CO2 footprint than today's standard in construction, marked an important milestone with a Topping Out ceremony and sharing of initial learnings.

Environment and climate are high on society's agenda, and together with our partners EFFEKT and MOE, we have joined forces in an open innovation process to change the way we build today towards more sustainable practices and to decarbonize buildings. The focal point is Living Places, a new sustainable approach to building homes that benefits both people and the planet equally.

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Living Places Copenhagen located in Jernbanebyen, the old rail district, is an experimental prototype of the Living Places concept that rethinks the way we design, build and live. The buildings, which are beginning to take shape, will have a CO2 footprint 3 times lower than current standards and a first-class indoor climate.



"Here we gain experiences and learnings, positive as well as negative, which we share with the industry and stakeholders. We want to drive a development towards sustainable construction that is scalable for the entire sector, both in terms of processes and solutions that can be used in construction on a larger scale,"

says Lone Feifer, Director of Sustainable Buildings at the VELUX Group.


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Photo: Andreas Bo


The construction of the seven houses in Copenhagen has progressed so far that we can begin to share the first experiences and learnings:


    • The choice of materials and technologies must take into account the environmental footprint, not solely on the basis of price and quality. It is a new currency that is being added, and experience must be built into business as usual. We can reach 1/3 of the upcoming 2023 requirements in the building regulations with the products and materials that are on the market today. We do not need to develop and demand new products, but demand those with the lowest life cycle performance on the shelves of our suppliers. The LCA analysis on Living Places as a concept is third party verified by AAU / BUILD, and the lowest currently in Denmark.


    • New visions for construction require a new approach in the collaborative culture, where you share and work more openly, and you have to understand your roles in a new way. This requires more dialogue in the project team, and requires openness about errors, testing assumptions and time to discuss scenarios together. The perspective, experience and positive approach of all parties are necessary to be able to experiment in a trusting atmosphere and good tone, with a good result.


    • In the project at Jernbanebyen, detailed LCA analyses of various terrain deck solutions were carried out, which showed a significant CO2 saving potential when foundations are laid on screw foundations for supporting a light structure. Against this background, and in combination with the fact that the buildings at Jernbanebyen are temporary and must be taken down later, as well as on contaminated land, it was decided to carry out the construction with screw foundations.

        • Screw foundations were new for everyone in the design and execution team
        • The ground conditions were particularly challenging due to crushed stone, asphalt, rubble, etc.
        • Significantly longer ground screws were needed than expected, as well as a number of inclined screws to absorb horizontal forces


This has resulted in a significantly higher contract price for the foundations, as well as increased CO2 due to an increased amount of material. Since the design phase and the preparation of the initial LCA analyses, there has been a development in the industry, which is why there is currently not really much difference between screw foundations in combination with a light floor construction versus a more traditional terrain deck construction with terrain batts and edge foundations. MOE engineers will take these learnings with them in their work with sustainable construction and are happy to share the experience with stakeholders in the industry.



"With Living Places, we want to show that we do not have to wait for the technologies of the future to move future residential areas into a more responsible and generative position – one where industry is part of the transition to reverse climate change. We demonstrate solutions that lower CO2 emissions and provide healthy residential areas for the residents of the future,"

says Sinus Lynge, Partner in EFFEKT architects.