They combined a frame of cross-laminated timber with factory-manufactured modules and created a 20-story and near the 80-meter-high wooden building that will be a dynamic meeting place for culture, entertainment, and conferences in northern Sweden. The place is called Sara Culture House. 

There are many hides behind the gigantic wood of Sara Culture House. The building is designed in such a way that the energy consumption is 25% lower than Swedish building standards require. In addition, Sara Culture House optimizes its energy system, developed in collaboration by Skellefteå Kraft and ABB, so that energy consumption is reduced by another 20%. The unique energy system has an “AI heart” that keeps track of the building’s energy flows and adapts to the number of the cultural centre’s visitors. It learns when a higher degree of electricity or heat is needed, and when less is needed. In this way, the entire system is always perfectly optimized and ensures that the building is energy efficient.

The building has two forms of energy storage. The entire building’s body, including for example the pool, is a thermal layer. For instance, when a cold snap is expected, the heating can run a little higher and then be turned down – perhaps even turned off – and the building can remain comfortably run on the saved heat. The other form of energy storage in the building is batteries, which total about 500 KWh.

Sara Culture House also communicates with nearby buildings, and by extension with the entire energy system in Skellefteå. Excess energy in the property is passed on to other parts of the city. All waste heat goes back into the system, and nothing is wasted. The house is also equipped with solar panels and a heat pump that works with electricity, water, and district heating.

Through the innovative energy technology concept developed by Skellefteå Kraft and ABB, it will be possible to fully explore and calibrate all the building’s energy aspects and needs, as well as collect valuable data to power the increase in technical and commercial competence in the building energy sector.

Wood may be central to Sara Culture House– and rightly so — but it is the combination of pioneering architecture, wood construction and energy systems that make the building unique and an example of best practice that paves the way for the development of sustainable cities of the future.

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