May 28, 2022

California: Berkeley Public Library’s New West Branch is a ‘Zero Net Energy’ Building”

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.

Read the Complete Article

See Also: Learn More About the New West Branch of the Berkeley Public Library (PDF)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.