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Holistic approach to sustainability at Library

Media Release
2 February 2005

Holistic approach to sustainability at new Glen Eden Library

The design of Waitakere City’s brand new Glen Eden Library reflects a holistic and realistic approach to sustainability.

The architects, Warren and Mahoney, share Waitakere City Council’s commitment to environmental sustainability. Glen Eden is one of several new award-winning libraries designed by the firm, all of which incorporate innovative sustainability features to provide substantial long-term benefits for the environment and library users.

The integrated design approach involved engineers, architects, artists and library staff. The end result is a visually stunning, environmentally-responsible building designed with patrons in mind.

“Libraries are not just repositories for books. Today’s libraries are an extension of our living rooms and the way we’re interpreting this in our designs is proving a powerful means for attracting people through the doors,” says Warren and Mahoney Director, John Coop.

The new library has been welcomed by the Glen Eden community, mirrored by six to seven hundred people a day through the facility in its first month. Waitakere City Council Library and Information Services Manager Su Scott says the library will be an asset to a community that has had many temporary library facilities. “Glen Eden has never had its own purpose-built library. This new library gives the community an eco-friendly building in which to live, learn and enjoy,” she says.

Largely naturally ventilated and lit, energy efficiency was top of mind for the design team. The use of thermal mass and shade structures ensures that the building achieves a relatively stable indoor temperature without the need for air conditioning. Radiant heaters ensure warmth in winter without high energy consumption.

The main west facing view has been exploited throughout in terms of temperature control and acoustics.

However it also presented a challenge in regulating late afternoon summer sun to prevent overheating. This is combated by a shade structure on the south west side of the building and strategically located and controlled louvers. Cool air enters at low levels through the louvers and escapes through high level windows in the roof.

Baffles behind the louvers combat noise from busy adjacent roads.

The saw tooth roof ensures that natural light penetrates deep into the building, allowing lights to be turned off for a large part of the day. Artificial lighting is of the energy efficient T5 type and is controlled by light sensors to prevent use when sufficient natural light is available. Energy efficient lights and LCD computer screens in the learning centre generate less heat than conventional equipment, reducing the need for cooling.

The environmental impact of materials used was considered throughout construction. Only plantation grown New Zealand timbers were used so that the building does not contribute to the deforestation of old growth forests. Where possible, paints carrying the ‘Environmental Choice’ label were used and low maintenance materials were chosen to ensure low ongoing resource use.

Toilets are 6/3 dual flush and taps have a flow rate of less than nine litres per minute to reduce water usage.

A water tank under the library collects rainwater off the roof to control and reduce the amount of rainwater entering the storm water system. Sustainable storm water management was also considered in the landscaping and the car park, with features such as permeable paving, rain gardens and drainage swales.


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