Note: The new West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library formally opened on December 14, 2013.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
The new West Berkeley branch of the city’s public library system was designed to save energy. Its heating, cooling and lighting systems use so little electricity, in fact, that solar panels on the roof generate more than the building needs.
The branch is a “zero net energy” building, meaning it produces more electricity over the course of a year than it draws from the state’s power grid. As such, it’s a rarity. While the concept has been around for years, few zero net energy buildings have been built. Berkeley boasts that the $7.5 million branch, which replaced a building dating to 1923, is California’s first zero net energy library.
The building cost about as much per square foot, [Gerard] Lee, [an associate with the Harley Ellis Devereaux architecture firm that designed the branch] said, as the Berkeley library system’s new South Branch, which opened in May and wasn’t designed for zero net energy use. Smaller than the West Berkeley branch, the South Branch cost $6.5 million to build.
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