On Tuesday, Mayor Martin Walsh announced that the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library earned the prestigious LEED Gold certification.
The new 14,600 square foot, $17.25 million library opened last year after a year of construction and is located at the corner of Bremen and Prescott Streets facing the Bremen Street Park.
“The City of Boston is committed to green design practices and eco-friendly development,” said Walsh. “By earning LEED Gold certification, the state-of-the art East Boston branch demonstrates how a successful architectural addition to a community can also be a sustainable one.”
Established by the U.S. Green Building Council and verified by the Green Building Certification Institute, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the world’s foremost certification program for the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of green buildings.
The new branch serves the entire community with more than double the combined public space of the former two branches it replaced. Both the Meridian Street and Orient Heights Branches closed once the new branch opened.
Designed by William Rawn Associates, the sustainable building merges indoor and outdoor spaces and has redefined the experience of the library. Architects Mark Oldham and Carla Ceruzzi where responsible for the design, which is a sleek non-linear building with a wave-like roof, open floor plans, huge windows that overlook the Bremen Street Park and outdoor classroom and reading spaces
The library includes a community reading room with spectacular views of the park and the downtown Boston skyline. The brand-new facility boasts dedicated areas for adults, children, and teens, in addition to a quiet reading room, conference room, and community space for multipurpose programs. A reading porch runs the length of the building along the park, providing outdoor space for reading, congregating, and using the wireless Internet network, a feature of all Boston Public Library locations.
The diversity of Eastie is signified and celebrated by stone pavers on the exterior of the Branch that show the name and distance to the capital cities of the top 21 countries of origin of the residents of the neighborhood. As part of the sustainable design of the library, storm water from the roof and site is directed to three “learning gardens” along the side of the Eastie Branch. At each garden is an interpretive panel which tells visitors about the sustainable aspects of the Branch and the gardens.
The library building earned LEED certification for green design and construction in the areas of energy use, lighting, water, and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies.
These features include water conservation through storm water management, rainwater collection, underground recharge tanks, and low-flow bathroom fixtures and sustainably harvested and certified wood. There is also underfloor ventilation and conditioning, a reflective roof, high-performance glass, and daylight harvesting/dimming and occupancy sensors.
“Learning starts the moment you step onto the library property in East Boston,” said President of the Boston Public Library Amy Ryan. “From the beginning, this project strived to be an environmentally responsible community gathering place. It’s rewarding to have achieved LEED Gold certification for what is already such a cherished asset in the neighborhood.”
Seventy-five percent of construction waste was recycled and use of low emitting materials and materials with recycled content.
“This building will not only have a long lasting impact on learning, but also on the City of Boston’s environmental footprint,” said Brian Swett, Boston’s chief of environment, energy and open space. “Developing new municipal buildings in a sustainable way demonstrates the City’s commitment to building healthier buildings for our citizens and to reaching our goal of reducing municipal greenhouse gases 25 percent by 2020.”