VELUX China Office - a healthy workplace

The multi-faceted design strategy serves as a model for the VELUX Group to inspire its employees and customers of the benefits of healthy workplace design.


Work spaces that benefit both people and the environment

Today’s architects should be able to successfully integrate sustainable design into their projects. However, simply resolving issues related to thermal comfort and energy reduction is no longer sufficient. Sustainable innovations that may have exceeded a client’s expectations a decade ago are likely to fall short in meeting the demands of contemporary office design. We can no longer afford to separate the physical and mental well-being of an individual employee from their workplace environment. 

The VELUX Group strived to develop a model for a healthy office building for the new VELUX China Co.Ltd headquarters. The VELUX design team invested in considerable research to prove that an increase in natural daylight and fresh air could improve the quality of life for the occupants. This multi-faceted design strategy overcame the challenges, misconceptions, and doubts relating to a new paradigm for holistic architectural design. This resulted in a building that serves as a model for the VELUX Group to inform its employees and customers about the benefits of healthy design. 

The technologies implemented in the building show us that everyone has to collaborate to create a good indoor climate where the whole building similar to the human organism has to be well balanced and regulated,"

says managing architect, Agnieszka Szwarczewska

Working together

As the era of globalization continues, so does the Chinese economy, its expanded construction market, and its growing number of consumers. This dynamic economic environment means that global companies such as the VELUX Group must continue to invest in the well-being of its Chinese employees to sustain innovation and competitiveness. To ensure that this challenge is met, the open floor plan encourages dialogue and greater collaboration and both floors have touchdown zones where employees can gather for informal meetings. A fitness centre, table tennis and a pool table in the basement foster a greater sense of camaraderie among the staff. Furthering the sense of community and belonging, outdoor recreational facilities include football, volleyball, and most significantly: a vegetable garden. 

Referred to as the “Happy Farm”, Managing Director: Christian Olsen delights in the fact that employees “finish their lunch quite quickly and spend the rest of the lunch break tending the gardens.” Collecting the week’s harvest every Friday a mix of corn, peas, chilies, potatoes, watermelon and other products, employees are not only cultivating a garden, but growing an important social dimension to their workplace that employees enthusiastically refer to as a “lifestyle.”

Changing attitudes, inspiring people

Since the building became operational, the manager of human resources reports with pride how the rates of sick leave have dropped eight times when compared to the old VELUX offices. And with an expected 10-year payback due to reduced energy costs, the financial and intellectual investments needed to make the new headquarters have been validated. The Langfang office continues to receive approximately 200 visitors every month who include architects, engineers, researchers, professors and most importantly customers and clients who are inspired by what they experience. The constant flow of visitors helps reinforce the building’s significance to the employees, many of whom are not trained in building science but who have been motivated to become ambassadors of healthy indoor environments.

Collaborative building system

Obtaining the good results of the Langfang Office has required a conscientious effort. “The Langfang climate is very cold and dry. It is a tough climate in which to achieve low energy consumption,” points out Asymeric Novel, consulting engineer during the planning and construction of the building. “The building is an office space. This means that internal heat gains play a major role in defining the heating and cooling loads. In order to reach our targets, the Langfang Office was equipped with a range of energy saving technologies.”

These include:

  • A TABS system: An embedded network of water pipes in the mid-plane of all concrete slabs. Combined with a ground source heat pump and an outdoor air unit with variable volume, the TABS system provides pleasant and energy-efficient heating
  • A highly-insulated and airtight envelope to limit heat losses in winter
  • A CO2 based control of ventilation
  • Extensive use of roof windows and facade windows
  • Solar thermal collectors heating domestic water
  • Awning blinds that prevent overheating, thereby reducing the need for cooling on hot days
  • Heat pump

8 times less sick

leave than in old building

2 times more air

change than required minimum

10 years

payback time

China’s First Active House Office Building:

In recent years, the VELUX Group has been working closely with the Active House Alliance. The organisation is comprised of academics, researchers, and product manufacturers. Originating out of Europe, the Active House Alliance is an important source for leading-edge sustainable design strategies to improve the design of residential, commercial and office buildings. Comfort, energy and the environment encompass the three key Active House principles, however it is the use of natural daylighting and ventilation with an overarching concern for human comfort that helped guide the VELUX design team to succeed in achieving China’s very first Active House office building.

Achieving the Active House sustainable design principles necessitated achieving a primary and secondary energy consumption rate between of 30-50 kWh/m2/year within a reasonable construction budget.

“What surprises most people is that we can achieve the low energy consumption of 32.14 kWh/m2/year while still having 296 windows in the building,” notes Christian Olsen, Managing Director for the Chinese VELUX operations, adding “This is of course the message we are trying to convey – that windows are important because they are essential in providing a healthy indoor climate.”

Photos: Sebastian Schiørring

Architect: Agnieszka Szwarczewska

VELUX Modular Skylights

VELUX Modular Skylights is a fully prefabricated modular rooflight system made from a composite material that ensures excellent emery performance, thermal stability and high strength. The product is elegantly designed and is an excellent choice for all types of commercial buildings.

Sun tunnels

The VELUX sun tunnel bypasses all obstacles, using an adaptable reflecting tube to direct daylight into every corner of your home. The effect is brighter and more comfortable living areas.

Electric "Fresh Air" skylights

Designed for both deck and curb mount installations, the VELUX Electric "Fresh Air" skylight is the perfect daylighting solution for overhead applications. It allows for abundant natural light, and with the touch of a button, opens to let in fresh air. And if you forget to close it, a rain sensor will shut the skylight during inclement weather.

Blinds and shutters

Complete your roof window with a VELUX blind. VELUX blinds offer effective sunscreening and heat protection to suit every need.

VELUX INTEGRA® roof windows

  • Remote-controlled VELUX roof windows
  • Electrically or solar powered
  • Fresh air and a better indoor comfort
If you want ultimate comfort, the remote-controlled VELUX INTEGRA® roof window is the answer. The window comes with the new VELUX INTEGRA® control pad so you can control all your windows and accessories – such as blinds, awning blinds and roller shutters – easier and faster from anywhere in your house. A pre-fitted rain sensor will close your roof window automatically if it starts raining. Being available in both electrically and solar powered versions, the VELUX INTEGRA® roof window is the ultimate choice for out-of-reach installations or fresh air and a better indoor comfort.