The first time Anders and Malene Søndergaard stood in front of the yellow-brick building located in a quiet suburb north of Copenhagen, they immediately fell in love with the old building and agreed: this house, surrounded by a big garden with fruit trees, with a living space of 100 square metres on the ground floor and first floor as well as a basement of nearly 60 square metres, should become the new home for the young couple and their two children, aged three and six. However, the Søndergaards were also critical of some aspects of the over 80-year-old house: the bedroom and children's room upstairs had only one window each, so they looked rather small and dark. The bathroom, also located upstairs, had only a single small window as well, so there was poor ventilation. In addition to this, the whole roof needed to be renewed. Anders and Malene Søndergaard bought the house anyway and had it modernised substantially. Today, VELUX roof windows supply the once dark and compact building with lots of daylight and fresh air and have transformed it into a bright and welcoming home.
When the family started planning the remodelling of their new home, their architect advised them to see the renewal of the roof as an opportunity to give the old house completely new qualities. His proposal: altogether, twelve roof windows in the bedrooms, the bathroom and the staircase area would transform the dark building into a comfortable and healthy home with lots of daylight and natural climate control. "When we saw the plans for the first time and counted the windows, we were a bit concerned," says Anders Søndergaard. "The twelve new windows on the first floor seemed quite overwhelming and we were also worried that the large glass surfaces would spoil our privacy."
But their initial scepticism has since turned into pure enthusiasm and the family is excited about the many windows and the bright rooms in their home. "I have to admit that I felt quite exposed because of all the windows at first," says Malene. "But we soon realised that you can't look in from the outside. Not even the neighbours can see what we are doing upstairs." Today she is glad that the family followed the architect's recommendation and did not let the large number of windows discourage them. "In the drawings, you cannot see the light – you can't imagine what it will look like. You have to actually experience it. Everything appears so friendly and simply looks nice."
Bright, daylight-flooded rooms create a good atmosphere
Already in the staircase area, a combination of two VELUX roof window elements ensures sufficient brightness on the way upstairs, even on cloudy days. The master bedroom has been transformed into a bright, daylight-flooded room, thanks to a VELUX system solution "quartet" on the south side – four window elements that form a glass surface that reaches almost from floor to ceiling - as well as two roof windows installed above head height on the north side. "For me, roof windows in the bedroom are pure luxury," explains Malene Søndergaard, "and the interplay of light and shadow and the fresh air are a real pleasure with each new day." The children's room is past all recognition as well. Quartet solutions on both sides of the roof, as well as two roof windows installed above head height facing north, ensure a lot of light and fresh air. "When the children grow up, the room will not only be used for sleeping but will become more of a playroom," says Anders. "Thanks to the roof windows, the room is now bright in the daytime and appears spacious and comfortable." In the initially dark and difficult-to-ventilate bathroom, two roof windows were installed as well, which means more light and much better ventilation. "Before we had the roof windows, the air in the bathroom stayed humid for a long time after somebody took a shower," explains Malene. "Now the humid air leaves through the roof windows quickly and easily."
An attractive house – from the inside and outside When an older building is transformed into a modern home, there is always the danger of architectural values getting lost and of disharmony arising between the house and its surroundings. With the Søndergaard family's house, this was prevented by means of careful construction and placement of the roof windows. The solar thermal collectors installed on the south side of the roof blend in harmoniously with the overall picture, too. They also allow for the family to save up to 2,595 kWh a year on hot water generation. However, the new windows have not only improved the outer appearance of the house. The Søndergaards can experience their surroundings in a completely new way from the inside as well. "I like the view a lot," says Malene. "We have a view over all the roofs and gardens in the neighbourhood." The attractive renewals on the house have not escaped the neighbours' attention either. "After a visit to our house, the family from across the street was so inspired by the brightness and the view that they decided to have roof windows rather than dormer windows installed themselves," says Anders.
Natural ventilation and intelligent heat protection The many roof windows not only give the Søndergaards a great view of their surroundings, they also help cut their energy consumption. The family can do mostly without artificial lighting even on cloudy days, and they need to heat less thanks to the warming rays of the sun. The roof windows also play an important role in the ventilation of the building. Due to the differing heights of the windows, the so-called stack-effect comes into play: the warm, stale air rises and leaves through the roof windows installed above head height, while fresh air flows in from below. This natural ventilation is particularly efficient – it ensures a supply of fresh air and guarantees a healthy indoor climate throughout the whole year.
To prevent the space under the roof from heating up on hot summer days, all roof windows have been equipped with exterior heatblock awnings and interior sun protection. Furthermore, the VELUX Integra sensor system opens and closes the windows depending on the level of sunlight and outdoor temperature, and thereby automatically ensures comfortable indoor temperatures during the summer. At the same time, the heatblock awnings create a pleasant atmosphere in the house: "Especially during afternoons, when the awnings are closed, the light in the bedroom and children's room is soft," says Malene. "This is very comfortable and I find it particularly appealing."