Huset KBH, Denmark

 Huset KBH is Denmark’s first and largest cultural centre, housing 7 stages, an event cinema, a board game café, and a restaurant serving reclaimed food waste. It hosts around 1,500 annual events and festivals across music, theatre, spoken-word, films, stand-up comedy, and more. Huset KBH originally opened in 1970, although it has closed and re-opened several times since then.

The venue is owned by the municipality of Copenhagen, but its activities are based mainly around the principles of voluntary participation and co-creation. The administration is an umbrella association of different organising groups, and it has a significant volunteer workforce.

The building is said to be the first concrete house built in Denmark and is made up of several different buildings that have been linked over time. Various energy saving and energy efficiency investments have already been made, including significant upgrades to LED lighting especially in hallways, staircases, and for outdoor lighting. The venue is currently looking into installing heat recovery ventilation and heat redistribution across the entire space – so that excess heat from a busy performance space can be directed to other parts of the building, for example.

There is an overall facilities manager, and individual managers for the different venues, stages, and bars housed in the building, meaning that responsibility for energy management is distributed.

A key challenge for energy management in the venue is the age of the building and much of its equipment, plant, and wiring. For example, in some rooms the light switch is at the other end of the room to the door so staff members regularly forget to switch off. It can also be difficult to engage the large volunteer workforce in energy saving actions, especially those who do not know the building as well.

An energy baseline was measured in 2011 and is now used as an annual energy budget: regardless of how many performances, events, and other activities the venue hosts, the target is not to exceed the energy use of that year (and where possible, to use less energy). The remaining energy budget for the rest of the year is calculated on a monthly basis. To date, this has been successful: a 16% decrease in energy us was achieved between 2011 and 2012, and a further 30% decrease between 2012 and 2013 – although there was a subsequent increase in energy use between 2013 and 2014.


Please note: the 2015 data point in the graph above does not yet include energy use for November and December as this case was written in November 2015.


We’d like to thank Huset-KBH for the information contained in this case study.  

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