West Branch Earns LEED Platinum and AIA COTE Top Ten Award

April 22, 2016

Contact: Sarah Dentan
Acting Director, Library Services
Berkeley Public Library

Berkeley Public Library’s West Branch Earns LEED Platinum and AIA COTE Top Ten Award

Berkeley, CA.  April 22, 2016— Earth Day—The West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library has earned two more highly distinguished awards for its environmentally “green” features, the Berkeley Public Library announced today.

The Library has recently learned that West Branch has received the highest level certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)—Platinum, according to Sarah Dentan, Acting Library Director This is the first City of Berkeley owned building to achieve this status.

Today the Library received notification from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) that West Branch is the recipient of the prestigious COTE Top 10 Award (Committee on the Environment (COTE).  According to AIA, “the COTE Top Ten Awards program, now in its 19th year, is the profession's most rigorous recognition program for sustainable design excellence. The program celebrates projects that are the result of a thoroughly integrated approach to architecture, natural systems and technology.”  

Opened in December 2013, the West Branch Library has been recognized multiple times, including certification as a ZeroNet Energy building, the first Net Zero Public Library in California. It actually produces more energy than it takes to run the building, with the excess going back into the power grid. Neil De Snoo, the City of Berkeley’s Energy Program Officer called the West Branch, “Exemplary in both design and operation.”

Pollard affirmed, “As we look to Earth Day for inspiration, motivation, and accomplishment, the Berkeley Public Library is proud to reflect the environmental commitment of the Berkeley community.  We urge the public to stop by West Branch to experience its green features, and to visit other libraries as well to get information about what you can do environmentally in your own homes and businesses,” she said.

Amanda Myers, West Branch Supervisor, agreed, “Working in the first NZE public library in the state is a pleasure. Our building receives an enormous amount of natural light, so much so that working inside is not a far cry from being outside. And, it’s a treat to receive visitors from all of the world coming to check out our innovative work place. Our steady stream of regular patrons who are here working on personal endeavors, enjoying public computers or picking up library materials, is also a testament to how well our new building is appreciated by our public.”

According to the United State Green Building Council (USGBC), “LEED Certification is a process designed to inspire project teams to seek innovative solutions that are better for our communities.”  To achieve LEED certification, building projects must satisfy environmental prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum. As part of its Climate Action Plan, the City of Berkeley requires all major remodels or new construction of City buildings to meet LEED Silver certification.

The renovated Claremont Branch and North Branch Public Libraries each achieved LEED Silver. South Branch, which like West Branch, was rebuilt from the ground up, earned Gold LEED Certification.  The Berkeley voters passed measure FF, a $26 million bond measure for the Branch Library Improvement Program, overwhelmingly in November 2008. See more information about West Branch and our other Sustainable Spaces. (View West Branch’s Energy Dashboard  to see energy usage.)

A project of this complexity requires a team:

The Berkeley Public Library opened in 1893 with 264 books. It now has a Central Library located at 2090 Kittredge Street, Berkeley, CA 94704 and four state-of-the-art neighborhood branches with thousands of books, audiobooks, music CDs, DVDs and online streaming and downloadable materials. For more information call 510-981-6195 or visit the library’s website.