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West Berkeley Library, City of Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
West Berkeley Library
(Re)making history.
A zero net energy community hub reenergizes its neighborhood.
Breathing new life into a 1923 library.
The City of Berkeley invited HED to transform its historic Carnegie-style library into a state-of-the-art, zero net energy (ZNE) community hub. Aligned with the city’s ambitious climate action plan goals, the new library would set a critical precedent both as an early prototype design for other ZNE buildings in the San Francisco Bay area, and as the first LEED Platinum, ZNE library in California.

The library’s redesign needed to reflect and celebrate its ethnically and culturally diverse Berkeley neighborhood; be sensitive and responsive to the geography and climate of its coastal environment; and establish the new library as an inviting community gathering place—a center of civic pride. The setting for collaboration and ongoing educational outreach. And a source of lasting delight and value far into the future.

At its completion, the new library would exceed all of these expectations.
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Results
The first Zero Net Energy library in California, with a net zero annual energy bill and zero carbon footprint, the LEED Platinum structure is a significant contribution to the City of Berkeley’s ambitious climate action plan goals.
The first publicly funded ZNE municipal building in California and only the third ZNE publically-funded building in the US, the library’s ZNE design saved the City of Berkeley over $1 million and a forty-year payoff of the carbon footprint.
The renovated library serves as a critical safety net and social network for new arrivals to the community.
The building and site development creates a prominent civic presence and active community hub for a diverse and historically underserved neighborhood.
Extensive passive design and energy optimization strategies—including a high-performance building envelope, daylighting, solar thermal panels, radiant flooring and natural ventilation—minimize the total energy load.
We wanted to create a building derived from a specificity of place, attuned to both its natural environment and its public mission. This is West Berkeley Library's delight and lasting value.”
Michael Bulander
Associate Principal
HED
A zero net energy community hub reenergizes its neighborhood.
West Berkeley Library, City of Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
(Re)making history.
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