From the outset, the Library’s Board of Trustees charged the project design group with achieving a LEED Gold rating for the building. While the Gold Rating remains our minimum requirement, we are striving for a Platinum LEED rating. This would be one of only a handful of LEED Certified Platinum buildings in the state and one of the most sustainable libraries in the country.
We are currently working with the Department of Natural Resources to gain approval for a geothermal system for the building. We are also working toward inclusion of a green roof on the project so that our contribution to storm water run-off is neutral – virtually no water reaching the site will go directly into storm drains.
There seems to be some concern with the amount of glass used in the design. Please keep in mind that the photo-realistic rendering you’ve seen only portrays part of the structure. There is actually a fair amount of balance between the use of glass and hard surfaces. The first floor children’s library and the front side of the fiction area are almost entirely rimmed with glass – albeit the highest energy efficient glass to be had with today’s technology. The rest of the first floor and much of the second are hard-walled with some windows. The auditorium envelope is entirely hard-walled save for the front which faces Green Square.
There is also a positive trade off in the use of glass. Daylight not only results in a fantastic library experience, it allows us to use daylight control systems to mitigate our use of electricity. Studies show a savings of 30% to 40% when daylighting control systems are used to reduce electric light usage. At the same time, these controls improve the overall user experience.
Project modeling forecasts that we will receive plentiful LEED credits for energy performance, light pollution, and exterior lighting. Our design team is also optimistic that the project will garner a significant amount of revenue from the Alliant Energy High Performance Building Program.
Sustainability has been a priority for the Board of Trustees and the design team on this project since the beginning, and it will remain a significant factor in the building of our new downtown library.
For more information on LEED Certification, visit the US Green Building Council.
–Bob Pasicznyuk, Library Director