A Greener Library

With the Royal Danish Library's Climate Strategy 2025, the library commits itself to creating a greener and more climate-friendly library.

The vision of the climate strategy is that Royal Danish Library's operation is climate neutral in 2050 in line with Denmark's overall aim of climate neutrality. Therefore, Royal Danish Library decided that sustainability should run as a common thread in the library's overall strategy. As greenhouse gas emissions pose one of the biggest challenges to the state of the planet, the library has developed a climate strategy where the primary goal is to reduce C02 emissions.

Royal Danish Library wants to take the lead with good initiatives and is now committed to creating a greener and more climate-friendly library. It requires new investments and priorities within the library's financial framework, just as we must examine external funding opportunities.

Royal Danish Library has first and foremost a direct responsibility to reduce its own climate footprint. Therefore, the primary focus of this climate strategy will be to initiate initiatives that have a real effect on the library's direct C02 emissions. This happens both in relation to the library's operations and in relation to creating real behavioral changes among the almost 900 employees. Sustainability must be a natural part of everyday life, and climate conditions must in future be given greater weight in the library's choices. We have a clear ambition that green transformation must be a fundamental value and part of the organisational culture. This also applies to the partners who enter into agreements with the library in the future. A secondary focus in the strategy is to use the special position and unique platform as Denmark's national library to contribute to a greener society.With public access for thousands of daily users - including students, researchers, guests and tourists from home and abroad - the library has an active role to play. We want to create greater awareness, contribute to information and actually make it easier for users and employees to make the greener choice.

The library's core tasks in a greener perspective

A library is basically a sustainable lighthouse with its sharing economy concept. The whole premise of a library is to share information and materials for information and education - rather than letting the individual buy new. That is why Royal Danish Library's most important social contribution to the green transition is to provide access to the library's materials and services, the communication of knowledge and cultural services, and by ensuring free and equal access to knowledge and information.

National Library

As a national library, we collect, preserve and make available the history and cultural heritage of Denmark, and we have a great responsibility in terms of ensuring sustainable storage conditions, so that both the cultural heritage and our climate are secured for future generations.

University Library

As a university library, we play a major role in making requested information available to the growing number of researchers and students who, in all academic fields, deal with sustainability and green transformation.

Loan center for the Danish public libraries

As a loan center for the Danish public libraries, we have an important task in supplementing the public libraries' services to the citizens - also in the climate area.

The road to a greener library - the four focus areas

Royal Danish Library has chosen to focus on four key areas, where the institution expects to be able to reap greater climate benefits. It concerns:

  • Building and warehouse operations
  • Transport and logistics
  • Purchasing and materials
  • Waste and recycling

To each of the four focus areas are initiatives that Royal Danish Library must initiate to realise the strategy. This includes major work with mapping, feasibility studies, setting up baselines, pilot projects, and more. In addition, we will launch initiatives that are more in the nature of changing behavior when it comes to the small things and thereby create an increased awareness of climate impact. This can be done, for example, by nudging users and employees to make green choices or by focusing on socially relevant topics in the cultural program - including climate and sustainability. Along the way, everyone, both employees, users and partners, will have to contribute to reducing CO2 emissions, and in that synergy, overall, create a climate-conscious organisation for the benefit of us all and for the future.

Building and warehouse operations

Royal Danish Library's green ambition: In connection with both the renovation and operation of buildings, magazines and IT systems, CO2 emissions must be reduced, with consideration to the tasks that the library must solve.

Royal Danish Library owns and operates more than 100,000 m2 of buildings and magazines, with leases of approximately 20,000 m2, just as we are responsible for over 20,000 Tbytes of digital storage, which is growing year by year in connection with the collection of digital cultural heritage. At the same time, Royal Danish Library is running up to 1,000 physical and virtual servers. Building and warehouse operations therefore form a significant part of Royal Danish Library's total energy consumption. We therefore find the greatest potential for reducing CO2 emissions here. For many years, the library has focused on continuously ensuring energy savings in building and warehouse operations. Many obvious energy-saving initiatives have been implemented and solar cells and heat pumps have been set up, so that we can contribute our own energy production to the operation of our buildings to a greater extent. With the climate strategy, this work will be further strengthened. This will be done by creating an overall, coherent and more uniform effort, which ensures a more energy-efficient operation of buildings and storage facilities. Parts of the library's buildings are older and more energy-intensive than new construction, and the strategy therefore also focuses on energy renovation of existing buildings. For many years, the library has worked actively to optimize the operation of server rooms, including reducing power consumption through optimised cooling and utilisation of surplus heat.


To fulfill the ambition, there is a special focus on four initiatives: Storage operation, Building operation, Renewable energy sources and Greener IT/servers.

Storage operation

The library's many cultural heritage collections are stored in storage facilities, where a good preservation environment is fundamental for the preservation of the collections for posterity. It is therefore investigated whether the conditions and requirements for both the climate and the desired life of the collections in the individual storage facilities can be changed so that the operation is more energy efficient and/or less energy-intensive.


  • Investigate, with consideration of the conservation environment, whether the energy consumption in storage facilities can be reduced, for example via intelligent control of air conditioning or through adjustment of pressure, air exchange and temperature in the storage facilities.
  • Energy consumption must be included in the storage plan for the cultural heritage collections, so that a focus is added on achieving the most energy-efficient and value-prioritised conservation.

Building operations

The energy consumption to run the library's buildings constitutes, in the same way as the storage facilities, a large part of Royal Danish Library's total energy consumption - especially in electricity, water and heating. The goal is therefore to continuously implement new technological and energy-saving solutions that ensure general reductions in electricity, water and heat. We will continuously focus on adapting and optimising our building capacity to the current space requirements, and focus on using sustainable building materials for renovations, maintenance and new construction.


  • (Continuously) replace energy, water and heat load components with more sustainable alternatives.
  • Find out if better measurement and data management of electricity, water and heat can ensure energy optimisation.
  • (Continuously) ensure energy optimisation in connection with modernisation and renovation of existing buildings, including demand for sustainable building materials for renovation and new construction.

Renewable energy sources

Royal Danish Library already uses various green energy sources, such as solar energy from its own photovoltaic systems, and wants even more of the library's energy to come from renewable and green energy sources.


  • Uncover the possibilities for establishing new renewable energy sources for electricity and heat production at the locations.
  • Uncover the possibility that more of the library's purchased electricity can come from green energy sources (like wind turbines).

Greener IT/server operation

The digital transformation of Royal Danish Library's activities are an important part of the library's strategy, and ever larger amounts of data are stored on the library's servers. The library will therefore work to continue to optimise energy consumption for IT/servers and ensure utilisation of such things as server heat where possible.


  • Optimise power consumption by continuously purchasing and replacing with more energy-friendly servers and disk systems and possibly reducing the number of physical server devices.
  • Find out if cooling methods and utilisation of server heat from server rooms can be further optimised.
  • Consolidate server room locations where convenient and commercially possible and provide energy savings.

Transport and logistics

Royal Danish Library's green ambition: Reduce the CO2 footprint by reducing the total transport (fewer kilometers driven) and by moving the kilometers driven to more climate-friendly transport solutions.

Transport is a big part of Royal Danish Library's operation and is a necessary activity to be able to solve the library's core tasks. Royal Danish Library lends hundreds of thousands of books and materials every year, which are transported both locally, around the country, and across national borders. Transport and shipments consist partly of the library's own driving/ transport, and partly of external suppliers' transport. Furthermore, a large part of the lending is tied up in service requirements in connection with Royal Danish Library's function as a national library, university library and loan center for the country's public libraries. As a library, we also have a large number of logistics and transport activities in connection with the daily operations. By changing service, logistics patterns and transport of materials, a focus on the number of kilometers driven, type of transport and fuel will be able to reduce CO2 emissions.

A large part of the approximately 900 employees regularly transport themselves between the library's different geographical locations in connection with solving tasks, meetings and conferences. There is already a special focus today on employees using public transport, and virtual meetings have gained a large foothold in everyday life. This has created good experiences with saving on transport, which we can build on - now also with a climate focus. We will in the future and to a greater extent support the use of virtual meetings and conferences, ensure the transport of materials takes place in a smarter and more climate-friendly way, help employees and users find it attractive to choose a climate-friendly means of transport to and from the library and locations.


In order to fulfill the ambition in connection with transport and logistics, there is a special focus on two initiatives: Transport of materials and Passenger transport.

Transport of materials

Royal Danish Library will ensure that the transport of materials and other operation-related transport takes place in a more climate-friendly way. This is to be done partly by reducing the number of kilometers driven with materials, and partly by the library's current cars being continuously replaced with more climate-friendly alternatives.


  • Find out whether driving books and materials can be made more efficient in order to reduce CO2 emissions.
  • Find out if driving can be reduced in connection with digitising the library's collections. Phase out the library's petrol and diesel cars and replace them with more climate-friendly alternatives (such as electric or hybrid cars) in line with the development of the car market.
  • Set environmental and climate-conscious requirements for suppliers' transport and material distribution in future tenders.

Passenger transport

The library's employees move every day to and from work and between the library's various locations. In addition, there are business meetings, conferences and collaborations at home and abroad. The total CO2 footprint from business travel must be reduced while the possibility of employees and users choosing climate-friendly transport solutions to and from the locations must be supported.


  • Promote and support the library's employees using public and climate-friendly modes of transport for business trips - where possible and appropriate.
  • Reduce the overall climate footprint of employee transport and business travel by, among other things, flights, taxis and car journeys, by supporting and promoting the continued use of virtual meetings and conferences.
  • Uncover the possibility of more working-from-home days that can reduce employee transportation to and from work.
  • Support the employees' and users' option of using climate-friendly means of transport to and from the library's premises, by providing facilities and incentives - this can be done, for example, by establishing good and safe bicycle parking facilities.

Purchasing and materials

Royal Danish Library's green ambition: CO2 emissions must be reduced by ensuring the purchase of more climate-friendly and sustainable goods and services, and by reducing resource consumption and CO2 emissions in connection with procurement.

Royal Danish Library purchases more than 300 million DKK of goods and services every year. By consistently thinking about climate and environmental considerations in the library's offerings and purchases, the climate footprint and the amount of CO2 can be reduced.

Royal Danish Library therefore wants to increase the focus on climate, environment and sustainability in connection with supply and procurement, so that the purchased products are not only assessed in relation to procurement price, but also in relation to the material's environmental impact in production.

By establishing common guidelines for green procurement across the entire Royal Danish Library, it must be ensured that we buy smarter and make more green and sustainable choices.

A large part of the library's purchases are made through government procurement agreements. In order to support the library's green ambitions, part of the strategy is therefore to be part of the public procurement network for the purpose of knowledge sharing, and to influence the state procurement agreements in the direction of more sustainability and circular economy.


In order to fulfill the ambition in connection with procurement and materials, the focus is on three initiatives in particular: Green procurement and supply policy, Green IT and Green cafeteria operations.

Green procurement and supply policy

Royal Danish Library's various shopping areas support the library's many different tasks and functions. There is therefore great potential in working towards common guidelines for green procurement and tenders across the entire organisation, with a view to partly achieving organisational gains and partly to being able to reduce resource consumption and secure climate gains.


  • Develop green procurement and procurement policies and strengthen synergies across the library's procurement areas.
  • Uncover optimisation of purchasing and delivery options (e.g. consolidating small purchases into larger and fewer deliveries).
  • Carry out a mapping of the individual purchasing areas in order to implement green purchasing policies and ensure more sustainable and environmental alternatives to existing products.
  • Collaborate and network in order to share knowledge and influence the government procurement agreements so that they support the library's green ambitions.

Green IT

When procuring new IT equipment, it must be ensured that the products are designed for a climate-friendly and sustainable life cycle (production, operation and disposal of IT). This also includes the choice of materials and chemicals in the equipment, the design of the equipment, energy consumption, service life, possibilities for reuse and recycling, etc.


  • Ensure that sustainability and circular economy are taken into account in all IT procurement.
  • Prepare green guidelines for purchasing IT that follow the principles for purchasing in general.
  • Work with (internal) recycling, so that equipment is used as long as possible.
  • Contribute to government procurement becoming greener where possible.

Catering, cafeteria, meetings and conferences

Royal Danish Library wants to make it easy for users, guests and staff to make the sustainable choice when using the facilities. Here the focus is on ensuring climate-friendly catering and sustainable meetings and conferences.


  • Set requirements for suppliers in relation to promoting sustainability and climate-friendly operation and range in cafeteria operations and leasing when these tasks are sent out for tendering.
  • Prepare green meeting and conference packages that support and reflect the other initiatives in the climate plan. Including exploring the possibility of obtaining green certificates and standards.

Waste and recycling

(circular economy)

Royal Danish Library's green ambition: With a focus on reducing waste, local waste sorting and more reusing and recycling - thereby minimising the amount of waste that goes to incineration and landfills - the ambition is to reduce the CO2 footprint significantly in the waste area.

Royal Danish Library annually produces more than 200 tonnes of waste in its own buildings and storage facilities - the majority of the waste is incinerated. The waste emits CO2 during incineration, and residual waste that is not incinerated or recycled is landfilled, which has consequences for our environment and climate. Therefore, waste management at Royal Danish Library is about thinking waste management more circularly; partly in relation to preventing and reducing the amount of packaging and other waste; and partly about better sorting in order to be able to reuse and recycle materials to a greater extent.


In order to fulfill the ambition to minimise waste for incineration and landfills, there is a focus on three initiatives in particular: Reduction of Waste and Waste Sorting, Reusing and Recycling.

Waste reduction

The amount of packaging and other waste is reduced through a focus on daily behavior as well as purchasing and tendering processes.


  • Identify the possibilities for reducing the amount of packaging and ensuring that the packaging is recyclable and can be sorted by making demands on suppliers.
  • Find solutions/practices that support the focus on recycling and that minimise waste production.

Waste sorting, reuse and recycling

Royal Danish Library's locations and departments will in the future sort into more fractions and more uniformly to support the possibilities of reusing and recycling the waste.


  • Begin implementation of a new waste system before the end of Q2 2021. The system must make it possible to sort household-like waste into 10 fractions, both among employees and users.
  • Support that employees and users experience waste sorting as easy and easily accessible (through nudging project)
  • Find out if a new IT policy and guidelines for the disposal of obsolete IT equipment can be prepared, so that possible reuse and possible recycling is ensured.
  • Uncover the possibility of establishing an internal furniture and inventory bank (possibly a joint institutional or state storage solution) that makes it possible to reuse and recycle furniture and inventory instead of buying new.

Implementation and follow-up

In connection with the preparation of the climate strategy, overall ambitions, initiatives and measures have been established for each focus area in order to promote a climate-friendly development of the library. In order to succeed in creating real CO2 reductions, specific goals and sub-goals are defined that live up to the ambitions here in the Climate Strategy. Likewise, specific projects are defined and implemented that support the overall described initiatives and measures. This is done in close collaboration with the various relevant departments.

We do not currently know our total CO2 emissions, so one of the most important activities in the first part of the strategy period is to improve the data base and our knowledge of the library's climate footprint, and then set baselines and reduction targets for the library's most important and most CO2-intensive activities.

A secondary focus in the Climate Strategy is on using Royal Danish Library's unique platform to contribute to a greener society. Here, qualitative surveys and input from users are the focal point for follow-up and reporting. The activities are initiated and followed up on an ongoing basis in collaboration with an internal follow-up group across the organisation. This must ensure progress and transparency as well as local anchoring and ownership for the implementation of the climate strategy.

A Greener Library. Climate Strategy 2025. Prepared by the Steering and Strategy Group for Climate Strategy, Royal Danish Library. March 2021