New York, NY | Frankfurt am Main, DE
The New York Public Library, Battery Park City Branch is the most eco-friendly of the New York Public Library branches. Since 1999, Battery Park City has enforced rigorous environmental design guidelines, which include a minimum of LEED Gold certification for all new developments. As part of a community with a demonstrated commitment to sustainable design, the library aims to use its status as an environmentally responsible public institution in the neighborhood to further enforce the importance of these goals. Completed in 2010, the project just received LEED Gold certification for its utilization of numerous sustainable design strategies.
Designed by 1100 Architect with sustainability consulting and energy efficient lighting design by Atelier Ten, the project meets the needs of a new and rapidly growing community in downtown Manhattan. The 10,500-square-foot branch library is located in the base of a high-rise residential building, Riverside, which was still under development when design of the library began. The design team was able to convince the developer to modify the façade so that the first two stories of the northeast corner would be enclosed in glass, maximizing the amount of daylight entering and enabling views into and out of the space. As a new branch within in the Battery Park City community, it was critical for the design to establish a presence that would draw people in.
The lighting system combines the need for a bright and functional space and an energy efficient solution. All regularly occupied spaces have direct natural light enhanced by a glazing system that includes glare control. Daylight-dimming devices sense daylight coming in and adjust the adjacent linear fixtures to compensate. All fixtures have low energy fluorescent linear or compact lamps and the cove feature lighting utilizes ultra-low consumption LED lights. Other features include occupancy sensors in less frequently used spaces like bathrooms and offices.
Power consumed by the library is measured and offset by energy generated in remote locations using sustainable sources, including the purchase of a two-year supply of Green-e Certified Clean Source Power for electricity. High-performance, thermally glazed windows provide lower heat loss, less air leakage, and warmer window surfaces that improve comfort and minimize condensation. Heating and cooling is carefully controlled through sensors connected to high-efficiency heating and cooling units with mechanically operable dampers and air outlets. The sensors help monitor fluctuations in air temperature and adjust the airflow accordingly.
The project minimizes the use of potable water through the installation of electronically controlled low flow faucets and low flow sanitary fixtures in all bathrooms. Grey water is treated through an onsite filtration system so it can be used in local applications such as irrigation and exterior maintenance.
Carpet tiles fabricated out of repurposed truck tires; floors made from wood end grain discarded by window frame manufacturers; and the use of recycled steel in the bookshelves, doors, doorframes, and structural members are part of the effort to take into careful consideration the life cycle of all materials used. A construction waste management protocol was put in place to divert construction site waste material away from landfill sites and into recycling and reprocessing plants whenever possible. All refuse that left the site was documented, and 83% was successfully diverted.
Sustainability extends beyond construction into management and maintenance. The Green Cleaning objective aims to keep the library clean without harming the environment through the use of special natural cleaning products, the effective use of janitorial equipment, and the use of green paper products. Located near the main entrance adjacent to the heavily trafficked circulation spine of the space one finds the NYPL Green Education Screen. This interactive screen allows visitors to learn more about the environmentally sustainable aspects of the design through visualizations of live data (including energy consumption and water use) gathered by the building management system.
With abundant natural light, spatially dramatic sightlines, and inviting, efficient circulation paths, the branch was immediately successful at attracting visitors and encouraging community use.
Client The New York Public Library
Architect 1100 Architect
Structural Engineer Robert Silman Associates
MEP Engineer Buro Happold Consulting Engineers
Lighting Consultant Atelier Ten
LEED Consultant Atelier Ten
LEED Commissioning Genesys Engineering
Cost Consultant Stuart-Lynn Company
Expeditor William Vitacco Associates
Library Consultant MDA designgroup
Vertical Transportation Van Deusen & Associates
Construction Manager The LiRo Group
General Contractor Cauldwell Wingate Company
Photography ©Michael Moran/ottoarchive