Sustainable Living in Buildings

Sustainable Living in Buildings is our commitment to people and planet. We engage with key stakeholders and deliver products and solutions that benefit people, protect natural resources and reduce environmental impact.

We lead the development of sustainable solutions. Through a series of building experiments, we have demonstrated that it is possible to comply with the expected EU building energy standards for 2020 with existing technologies and without compromising people’s health and well-being.

Planet perspective: setting the agenda for the future

We believe that research and technology are pivotal to enable turning current global challenges into opportunities.

We believe that research and technology are pivotal in turning current global challenges into opportunities.

We have therefore made a strong commitment to develop innovative concepts that can help combat climate change, limit the use of energy resources and provide a healthy and comfortable indoor climate. We call our commitment “Sustainable Living in Buildings”.

Buildings are part of the Paris Climate Agreement

"We are satisfied with the result of the COP21 negotiations in Paris. It’s good news for the environment but it’s even better news for us. For the first time, buildings were on the agenda. Buildings are responsible for about 40% of CO2 emissions – and the solutions to do something about that are staring us in the face. Energy renovation projects can be started immediately and make a valuable contribution to economic growth in Europe," said VELUX Group CEO, President Jørgen Tang-Jensen when the negotiations at COP21 were concluded. 

At COP21, the VELUX Group played an active role in highlighting the importance of buildings when it comes to reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions.

The VELUX Group was co-organiser of the Building Day event during COP21, a whole day dedicated to the building industry and the large potential for energy savings in the building sector. The day ended with the Green Building Solutions Award winners’ gala, where the prize for “Health and Comfort” was presented in cooperation with Construction 21. The first prize was given to the French kindergarten and primary school group Simone Veil.

“Le Refuge du Goûter” in the French Alps, built with 55 VELUX roof windows, won the Users’ Choice award.

Building perspective: engaging with key stakeholders

To be able to move forward and create healthy and sustainable buildings, we need to know where we are heading.

To be able to move forward and create healthy and sustainable buildings, we need to know where we are heading. Some build theories and simulate the path. We build real, full-scale buildings and monitor them in use. Through close dialogue with the international building community, we discover new ways of designing, building and renovating the millions of buildings in need of better indoor climate and improved energy efficiency.

Founding partner of Active House

The VELUX Group is one of the founding partners of the Active House Alliance, a global network of builders, researchers, designers, contractors and manufacturers who all work to promote healthy and sustainable buildings. During the last ten years, the VELUX Group has initiated and partnered in the building of more than 26 Active Houses all over the world.

An Active House is built on three fundamental principles:

  • Comfort – creates a healthier and more comfortable life
  • Energy – contributes positively to the energy balance of the building
  • Environment – has a positive impact on the environment.

The EU Commission is in the process of creating a new, common EU framework of indicators to control the environmental performance of buildings. The Active House Alliance took a major step towards international recognition when the Alliance, as stakeholder, was invited to the first working group meeting aimed at defining the macro-objectives for resource-efficient buildings. The meeting took place in the EU Parliament in June 2015 during Sustainable Energy Week, with the Alliance hosting an event on future buildings.

Healthy Buildings Day gathers 200 in Brussels

In March 2015, the VELUX Group invited 200 stakeholders including building professionals, politicians and building industry decision makers to the Healthy Buildings Day in Brussels. The purpose of the conference was to present the results of the Model Home 2020 programme and, based on this, discuss ideas on how to develop and improve living conditions in affordable housing.

The VELUX Group presented insights from the first Healthy Homes Barometer at a meeting hosted by MEP Christel Schaldemose.

21 experiments – and still counting

Product perspective: delivering products and solutions

The core business of the VELUX Group is founded on a vision to bring daylight and fresh air into people’s lives in buildings that give more than they take.

The core business of the VELUX Group is founded on a vision to bring daylight and fresh air into people’s lives in buildings that give more than they take.

We will continue to drive innovation towards healthy and sustainable buildings. Windows are a unique building component as they play an active role in creating a good indoor climate and a positive energy balance. VELUX roof windows are designed to provide the best energy balance in themselves and, through a combination of our products, the end users get a dynamic and responsive solution for a better indoor climate..

Need-based recommendation for healthy and sustainable buildings

The numerous building experiments carried out by the VELUX Group during the last decades have provided valuable information about what creates healthy and sustainable buildings. The data has been compiled and interpreted by leading architects, engineers, scientists and building professionals. Furthermore, interviews and surveys have been conducted with the families and users of the buildings to learn more about usability and liveability of the buildings. In 2015, we have transformed this knowledge base into a need-based recommendation for healthy and sustainable buildings.


Affordable Active House renovation

Affordable, easy to reproduce and scalable – these were the main criteria set up for the RenovActive project in Anderlecht, Belgium. The aim of the renovation project was to create a showcase, promoting the Active House vision towards the market of social housing and single-family homes where cost, comfort and energy efficiency must go hand in hand.

Affordable solution

One of the main goals of RenovActive is to prove the financial viability of Active House renovation in social housing schemes across Europe. The calculated renovation costs associated with RenovActive are within the budget frame of social housing in Brussels and meet the requirements set up in the Energy Performance of Buildings (EPB) standard.

Easy to reproduce and scale

Another goal of RenovActive is to develop a sustainable concept suitable for large-scale renovation and modernisation, i.e. a concept that can be easily replicated financially and technically. To serve that purpose, a widespread building typology is selected. The renovation is designed as a modular concept to obtain more daylight, better ventilation, sun shading, insulation, heating or more space. The concept allows easy reproduction of these concepts in other buildings by being modular so you can reproduce the whole concept or pick out elements.

Upon completion in mid-2016, the RenovActive House will be open to visitors for a 12-month period in order to inspire new perspectives on renovation in terms of quality of life for dwellers, and energy efficiency and affordability for building owners.

After the open-house period, a family with children will live in the house for two years. During that period, energy, heat and water consumption, as well as the family’s interaction with the home, will be recorded by scientists to gain new insights into renovation methods and results.

The roof of RenovActive House is designed to let in plenty of daylight through:

  1. Flat-roof window
  2. Roof window (manual opening)
  3. Roof window (electric opening, INTEGRA)
  4. Roof window (electric opening, INTEGRA)
  5. Sun tunnel

People perspective: human health and well-being

Building value is closely linked to the health and well-being of the people using the building. We are committed to proving that the quality of people’s lives and the quality of the environment are closely linked.

Building value is closely linked to the health and well-being of the people using the building. We are committed to proving that the quality of people’s lives and the quality of the environment are closely linked. It is never a question of either-or, but always a quest to find building solutions that combine benefits for people and planet alike.


 

The Healthy Homes Barometer

What do Europeans consider a healthy home, how do they want to live, and what are their primary priorities in creating a comfortable home? To shed more light on the quality of life inside buildings, the VELUX Group carried out the Healthy Homes Barometer survey among 12,000 Europeans in 12 countries in cooperation with the Humboldt University in Germany.

The survey reveals that people’s homes stand out as the key health driver; the average European even perceives the home to be more important for his/her health than eating fruit and vegetables, avoiding tobacco and doing regular exercise. The Healthy Homes Barometer shows that sleeping well at night is considered the single-most important health factor, while fresh air and daylight come next: in other words, comfort is what Europeans prioritise in their homes.

The results of the survey are shared with external stakeholders and used to guide further development of healthy and sustainable buildings. The next Healthy Homes Barometer will be launched at the Healthy Buildings Day in spring 2016, covering 14 European countries.

Knowledge Centre for
Daylight, Energy and
Indoor Climate

The VELUX Knowledge Centre for Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate is dedicated to developing and sharing knowledge on affordable, healthy and sustainable buildings with a special focus on windows, shading and controls in buildings.

In 2015, the VELUX Group commissioned the German Fraunhofer research institute to carry out a study on the influence of the indoor climate on health and performance in homes and schools.

The findings of the study provide the framework for the activities in the Knowledge Centre for Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate.

Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate Basic Book

With the Basic Book on Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate, we aim to share our knowledge on healthy and sustainable buildings.

With the Basic Book on Daylight, Energy and Indoor Climate, we aim to share our knowledge on healthy and sustainable buildings by offering specific advice and documentation on the effects and benefits of VELUX products.

In 2015, the third edition of the book was released as a free app for iPads in App Store.

Building simulation tools

The tools are user-friendly and accurate programmes that can help professionals in the design of sustainable and healthy buildings. The simulation results have been validated against established benchmarks by external institutes.

We offer several professional tools for building simulation, including:

The tools are user-friendly and accurate programmes that can help professionals in the design of sustainable and healthy buildings. The simulation results have been validated against established benchmarks by external institutes.

Several educational programmes around the world use the tools to teach future building professionals how to work with daylight and indoor climate in building design.

New versions of the tools were released in 2015 with major updates and added functionality.

Building Monitoring

The purpose of our building monitoring services is to gather and disseminate learnings from VELUX demonstration buildings and other projects where VELUX products are involved.

The purpose of our building monitoring services is to gather and disseminate learnings from VELUX demonstration buildings and other projects where VELUX products are involved.

Detailed monitoring programmes have been established in many buildings in order to provide insight into indoor climate, comfort, energy and how specific product solutions perform. The monitoring results are shared with the building community through magazines, scientific journals and conferences.

We have compiled ten key learnings from the building monitoring:

Circadian House: principles and guidelines for healthy homes

As a contribution to the discussion of the future development of sustainable architecture, the VELUX Group, in close cooperation with international experts, has published principles and guidelines for circadian buildings.

As a contribution to the discussion of the future development of sustainable architecture, the VELUX Group, in close cooperation with international experts, has published principles and guidelines for circadian buildings, i.e. buildings that adapt to the natural, daily and seasonal rhythms of people and nature.

Why daylight matters to the human circadian rhythm – Professor Deborah Burnett explains:


Learn more about the circadian principles.

VELUX Daylight Academic Forum

Every second year, we host the VELUX Daylight Academic Forum, where PhD students meet to present and discuss their research projects on daylight with fellow students and scientific experts.

Every second year, we host the VELUX Daylight Academic Forum, where PhD students meet to present and discuss their research projects on daylight with fellow students and scientific experts.

In 2015, 25 students from ten countries participated in the third VELUX Daylight Academic Forum in London.

Get impressions and insights from the event.

Public Affairs

The VELUX Group advocates political action to ensure healthy and sustainable buildings. Through our advocacy, we highlight a holistic approach to sustainable building where people’s health and well-being are just as important as energy efficiency, affordability and environment.

Our approach – reflected in our activities in terms of Sustainable Living in Buildings and the Active House principles – is never a question of either people or planet. It is always a question of both, taking a holistic approach to planning, designing and constructing healthy, sustainable and affordable buildings.

We urge that the dual challenge is addressed in future building legislation on national and European level.

Public Affairs Policy

Our approach is guided by our Public Affairs Policy that applies to all employees, consultants and advisors involved in VELUX Group Public Affairs activities.

The VELUX Group conducts all Public Affairs activities in compliance with applicable national and international legal requirements. When conducted in a transparent, trustworthy and socially responsible manner, we believe that Public Affairs activities are an integral and legitimate part of the legislative process.

Energy balance determines the energy performance of windows

We believe that energy balance is the best tool to determine the energy performance of windows – day and night, summer and winter.

We believe that energy balance is the best tool to determine the energy performance of windows – day and night, summer and winter.

Transparency is a unique characteristic of glass compared to other building materials. Windows allow daylight into buildings and establish a visual connection with the outside to create healthy and comfortable spaces. Similarly, the transparency of glass provides free solar heat gain that contributes to the thermal performance of the building.

The energy performance of windows cannot be assessed solely on the basis of their insulation characteristics (Uw-value). The calculation of the energy performance of windows must be based on both solar heat gain (g-value) and insulation properties.

Facts about the energy balance of buildings 

The energy balance is calculated as the solar heat gain (g-value) minus the heat loss (U-value) through walls, roof, doors and windows.

Public Affairs focus and activities in 2015

Our public affairs activities focus on healthy, sustainable and affordable buildings.

Our public affairs activities focus on healthy, sustainable and affordable buildings. In 2015, we were involved in such activities as:

Nearly Zero Energy Buildings

The VELUX Group advocates the Active House vision and principles to achieve Nearly Zero Energy Buildings.

At the Healthy Buildings Day in Brussels in March 2015, we zoomed in on ways to ensure that the more than 80 million Europeans who presently live in unhealthy and damp buildings can achieve a healthy indoor climate through daylight and fresh air.

Daylight in buildings

The VELUX Group is a leading proponent of daylight in buildings as a key enabler of human health and happiness. We base our recommendations on the following key points:

  • Daylight should be used as primary light source in buildings during daytime to fulfil visual and non-visual (biological) needs.
  • Levels of minimum 300 lux in 75% of the room area and 500 lux in areas where a task has to be performed are minimum daylight provisions.
  • Adequate daylight should always be part of renovation strategies.

At the VELUX Daylight Symposium 2015, the need for new regulations and daylight metrics were key topics. Among others, the new European Daylight standard, CEN TC159/WG 11 Daylight, was presented and discussed.

Natural ventilation

The VELUX Group advocates natural ventilation and natural ventilative cooling to ensure fresh air and a healthy indoor climate in buildings. We take an active part in shifting the legislative focus from simple requirements in terms of air change and flow rates to indoor air quality parameters such as CO2 levels and relative humidity.

Our advocacy of natural ventilation as a main driver of healthy and sustainable buildings is based on the following key recommendations:

  • The qualities and benefits of natural ventilation and natural ventilative cooling must be included in standards, compliance tools and legislation
  • Requirements for indoor air quality must be expressed in a way that is compatible with natural and mechanical ventilation
  • The VELUX Group supports the EU policy that the real solution to creating cleaner air everywhere – indoors and outdoors – is by source control.

In 2015, we released the Indoor Climate Viewer app that can be used to keep track of the indoor climate at home, at work, at school and anywhere else.

Affordable solutions

With 80 million Europeans currently living in buildings that are neither healthy nor sustainable, there is a great need to upscale the current stand-alone building experiments to large-scale and affordable building schemes. To support this development, the VELUX Group is exploring new ways of sustainable, affordable and replicable building retrofit.

In 2015, we invested in the RenovActive project in Belgium to create a showcase for affordable and sustainable renovation in social housing estates.

Active in the EuroWindoor association

The VELUX Group represents the Association of Danish Woodworking and Furniture Industries (TMI) in the new European association EuroWindoor, founded in 2015. EuroWindoor was established to represent the interests of the European window, door and facade industry.

As one of its first tasks, EuroWindoor has agreed on a joint position on the EU energy labelling of windows scheme. The industry is highly committed to improving energy efficiency in buildings and sees windows and innovation in the industry as a key enabler to harvesting the huge potential in renovating the European building stock. 40% of the energy used in Europe is consumed in buildings.

EuroWindoor supports the concept of energy balance when setting requirements for windows’ energy performance and has called on the EU Commission to include this in the revision of the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive in the official EU consultation in 2015.

EuroWindoor favours common EU initiatives that set out key principles at EU level while allowing member states to adopt a local approach in accordance with national and local climate conditions as well as building tradition. This approach is consistent with the way regulation for buildings and building components has been implemented at national level so far.

For more information www.eurowindoor.eu.

Fair competition

Since 1996, the VELUX Group has had a comprehensive Competition Law Compliance Programme in place to prevent anti-competitive behaviour in our business and to ensure that all sales companies comply with their obligations in terms of competition rules. Our leading position in the market makes this programme crucial to our business.

Competition law compliance

The VELUX Group complies with the Competition Law Compliance Policy laid down by our owner, VKR Holding A/S.

The VELUX Group adheres to the Competition Law Compliance Policy laid down by our owner, VKR Holding A/S. The policy describes our approach in relation to customers, competitors, mergers and acquisitions, and other relevant issues.

It is the overall Competition Law Compliance Policy that all VKR Holding A/S companies comply, at all times, with the relevant national and international antitrust and competition law requirements (e.g. EU competition law). The General Council monitors competition law compliance and continuously assesses compliance procedures.

Tax policy

The VELUX Group acts with integrity and transparency in tax matters.

The VELUX Group acts with integrity and transparency in tax matters. Our approach is guided by our Tax Policy, which applies to employees as well as consultants and advisors involved in tax issues.

In summary, the tax policy of the VELUX Group states that:

  • It is the overall tax policy of our Group to consider tax as a cost; therefore, the objective will be to minimise the total tax payment of the VELUX Group in order to improve the cash flow with respect to the rules formulated by VELUX A/S.
  • The business perspective is always the key driver when making decisions. The VELUX Group will not enter into projects without substance, in which the only objective is to create tax benefits for the participants.
  • The VELUX Group will not register in countries known as tax havens (as listed by OECD) unless there is a sound business reason for doing so.

The Danish VELUX companies are included in the mandatory joint taxation with VKR Holding A/S and the other Danish companies owned by VKR Holding A/S. Corporation tax of the Group’s Danish joint taxation income is paid by VKR Holding A/S.

Our contribution to society

The Model Company Objective expresses our wish to contribute to the development of the societies we are part of. Among other things, we contribute by offering useful products that play a key role in creating sustainable and healthy buildings. We provide safe and motivating jobs for thousands of people around the world, and we take care to constantly reduce our carbon footprint.

Financial contributions to community development are made by THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS. The local VELUX companies contribute to local development through a wide range of projects, activities and donations.

VELUX engagement in Hungary acknowledged

The VELUX Group has been active in Hungary for close to 30 years. The strong bond between our company and Hungary was acknowledged in 2015, when Lars Kann-Rasmussen, former Chairman of the Board of THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS, was awarded the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of Hungary.

Today, the VELUX Group employs more than 1,000 people in Hungary and the country is one of the largest beneficiaries of donations from THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS. By 2015, the Foundations have given more than ten million euros to social projects benefiting under-privileged families.

14,500 solar lamps to off-grid areas

In September 2015, the winners of the Natural Light competition presented the first prototype of the Little Sun solar lamp that will bring light to off-grid areas in Senegal, Zimbabwe and Zambia. As part of the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the VKR Group, 14,500 lamps will be distributed in the spring of 2016.

The concept of the new solar lamp named “Enganchate” (meaning “hook up”) is simple and based on light’s fundamental ability to bring people together. The winning students, Mariana Arando and Luca Fondello, both industrial design students at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, explain:

The idea of light as an element that joins people together was the foundation of our design concept. With this solar lamp, every member of the family can bring his or her own light home.

The chairman of the jury was very impressed with the creativity of the winning design.

Providing access to light is not only about answering a functional need. It is also about understanding the intimate link between energy and our aspirations for happiness. The winning design addresses both – and more: it understands that holding energy in your hand makes you feel empowered. This design is empowering,” said artist Olafur Eliasson.

In connection with the distribution of the lamp, the NGO “Plan International” will facilitate training of local entrepreneurs to ensure that the donated lamps will create new employment opportunities and improved living conditions in the local communities.

Get more information about www.naturallight.org.

THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS

Through THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS a share of the VELUX Group’s profits is returned to society every year.

Through THE VELUX FOUNDATIONS, a share of the VELUX Group’s profits is returned to society every year. The founder of the VKR Group instigated the foundation VILLUM FONDEN in 1971 and ten years later, VELUX FONDEN. Both foundations provide support for larger, non-profit projects with scientific, cultural, artistic, social or environmental objectives.

Both foundations are non-profit trust funds governed by Danish law and subject to the supervision of the Civil Affairs Agency under the Danish Ministry of Justice. The foundations each have their own independent boards.

In 2015, Jens Kann-Rasmussen was appointed Chairman of VILLUM FONDEN. He is the grandson of the founder of the VKR Group, Villum Kann Rasmussen, and has worked for the VELUX Group for many years, holding various positions in Denmark, Scotland and Germany.

The two foundations made 545 grants in 2015, totalling just above €111 million.

See more on www.veluxfoundations.dk

In 2015, VILLUM FONDEN donated €81.5 million to projects such as: 

  • Environment and sustainability: an annual contribution to the donations and work of the KR FOUNDATION of €13.4 million. 
  • Environment and sustainability: both VILLUM FONDEN and VELUX FONDEN have announced a joint grant of €1.2 million to the organisation Plastic Change for the project “Oceans of Opportunity”, which will analyse and reduce marine plastic waste through a number of initiatives.
  • Social projects, Bulgaria: the organisation National Network for Children has received €580,000 for the project “Child rights hubs” for children in conflict and contact with the law in Bulgaria. 

In 2015, VELUX FONDEN donated € 29.5 million to projects such as:

  • Active senior citizens, Denmark: €1,100 to Danish People’s Aid for the project “SeniorNet” – a network for lonely seniors.
  • Gerontology and geriatrics, Denmark: €740,000 to Aarhus University, Department of Clinical Medicine for the project: “A new strategy – prostate cancer”. 
  • Environment and Sustainability, Denmark: VELUX FONDEN and VILLUM FONDEN donated €1.1 million to Samsø Municipality for the project “Bio society Samsø – model island for circular bio economy”.