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Green architecture – 88th branch of the New York Public Library

By Damir Beciri
22 March 2010

battery-park-library-1The growing community of Battery Park City now has its own library. The Library was constructed with a focus on environmental sustainability and will be the first GREEN Library in Manhattan. The branch is expected to receive LEED Gold certification from the U. S. Green Building Council. Many of the sustainable features the library has were realized easily because the whole building has sustainable features.

Riverhouse, the building which houses the library, has air cleaning feature that includes fresh air that is filtered twice before entering each residence, resulting in an exceptionally healthy living environment. The apartments also maintain seasonally adjusted humidity levels to allow for easy breathing all year long. A sophisticated on site water filtration system removes sediment and impurities from the water and provides your waterfront apartment with pure and clean water.

Locally acquired renewable materials and low or non pollutant emitting paints, adhesives, and sealants are used throughout the amenity spaces and residences, creating a healthier respiratory environment. A specially designed photovoltaic grid crowns the building, on which thousands of photovoltaic cells automatically follow the sun’s trajectory. This maximizes the cells’ exposure to the sun and their conversion of sunlight into clean, usable energy for residents here. Last but not least, seventy five percent of the Riverhouse Apartment roofs are planted to capture and recycle the majority of natural rainfall for irrigation.

The 88th branch of the New York Public Library has 930 square meters (10,000 square-feet), and it’s located at 175 North End Avenue. It occupies the bottom two floors of the city’s greenest residential high-rise to date. Designed by the architecture firm 1100 Architects, the branch includes 24,000 items, 36 public access computers, and separate reading areas for children, young adults, and adults. A multipurpose programming room on the second floor is also featured, as well as two self-checkout machines for public use.

A high-tech, oversize touch screen computer mounted on a wall by a seating area under the cement stairs filled with tangerine orange pillows lets patrons see how much energy and water is consumed by the library in real time.

Some of the features contributing to the branch’s environmental efficiency include: an efficient technologically advanced low-energy heating and cooling system, low-flow sanitary fixtures which reduce water consumption, low-energy lighting system and use of a large number of the products that are low emitting in order to help the overall indoor air quality.

In order to equip the library interior, the designers used recycled and renewable building materials including a wood floor constructed with off-cuts from window frame manufacture, carpets constructed from old truck tires, millwork made from recycled cardboard composite, and terrazzo with recycled glass and mirror aggregate. A part of the recycling philosophy includes a dedicated area for the collection and storage of all recyclable materials accumulated during the day to day operations of the branch

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