Skellefteå: A House of the Future full of sustainable Solutions

The Skellefteå Public Library in an energy-efficient wooden skyscraper

The Sara-Kulturhus is a prestigious building and landmark of the city of Skellefteå in Sweden. With 20 floors, the multifunctional high-rise building made of wood is the tallest of its kind in the world. The architects have not only made a statement in terms of innovative, modular construction, but have also created a state-of-the-art library in an energy-efficient building for the 70,000 inhabitants of Skellefteå. And sustainable technologies play a central role.

Since autumn 2021, the Kulturhaus has functioned as a new community meeting place - a venue for literature, art and performances. In the past, the city was known by its timber trade. For the architects, White Arkitekter, it was therefore obvious to choose regional wood as a building material to fit with the local tradition. The result is homely, light-flooded rooms that provide the library with flexible interior space, with a high emphasis on sustainable technologies.

Nex.Return: efficient item return

The two book return inlets are designed to match the interior design in terms of material choice, colour and style and are cleverly integrated into a natural wood wall. To achieve maximum accessibility for all , the inlets were installed at different heights.

A traffic light below the ceiling, signals in three colour levels when one of the bins or stacking trolleys at the sorting system reaches its loading limit or the connection to the library system is interrupted. In this way, the team has an overview of the status of the sorting everywhere and can react promptly.

The returned library items are brought together in the adjacent room on a central conveyor belt and distributed to the 17 sorting destinations according to the programmed sorting strategy. The library relies on a mixed arrangement of Nex.Bins and Nex.Carts, high-capacity containers and ergonomic stacking trolleys, which combined enable convenient reshelving.

Anita Lindberg, Skellefteå City Library, emphasises: "The return system takes up hardly any space, is easy to use, and we really like the functionality of the stacking carts. There are far fewer manual activities, less lifting and better ergonomic workflows."

Height-adjustable staff return

In addition to the sorting system, a height adjustable Nex.Return Staff helps the team to quickly backload large quantities of items into the library system and automatically pre-sort them as desired. With a toggle switch, the device can be electronically moved to the ideal operating height for every employee.

"The Kulturhus is a symbol of human architecture: sustainable, flexible, open. As such, we have designed a customer-specific solution that takes up the ergonomic and modular ideas of the library with regard to library technology," explains Tedde Julén, Nexbib Sweden. "This project was an absolute highlight for us, which we delivered with the creative library team full of enthusiasm and pride."


About Skellefteå Public Library

Sara Kulturhus opened in autumn 2021. The Public Library offers almost 184,000 items. In 2021, almost 14,000 registered users, 126,000 visitors and 330,000 loans were recorded, with the library closed for four months due to the move. In the municipality there are also nine district libraries, a children's mobile library bus and a university library.

In addition to the city library, the Kulturhaus houses six stages, two galleries, a hotel and an open, multifunctional foyer. The building owes its name to the writer Sara Lidman, who, as expected, comes from the region.

Skellefteå is a prime example of the use of green energy from hydropower and wind power and today positions itself with the local companies as a convincing, economically successful eco-location.

More information about Skellefteå Public Library and Sara Kulturhus.

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