Rock ‘n Roll bands play in the community room on Friday afternoons. Dedicated space for teens to feel welcome and private rooms for meetings or study. Aesthetically pleasing and sustainable carpeting, furniture, lighting, HVAC system and furniture. All this in a public library ? But, of course !
As the Ferndale Public Library awaits gold certification as a new LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) public building from the US Green Building Council (USGBC), it offers eye opening features and amenities to visitors and staff alike. On Thursday, December 1st, the Detroit Regional Chapter of the USGBC offered a tour of the reopened facility hosted by the lead architect of the redesign, Seth Penchansky, AIA of Penchansky Whisler Architects in Ann Arbor. The facility has been retrofitted to not only be a more accessible and comfortable place for its visitors and workers, but to blend in more with its urban setting and be that “place” which offers a healthier, safer, more comfortable environment in which all users can enjoy.
According to Kate Pohjola, recently hired Director of the remodeled library, the positive comments and good vibes emanating from the space have been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. Even the staff is smiling more and motivated to enhance the publics’ experience, whether they be a first time visitor or a frequent user. Certainly the building, originally built in 1956, has been “reborn” with geothermal wells for more efficient heating and cooling in addition to creation of a very energy efficient building envelope. Other improvements include greater water efficiency with a stormwater reclamation system, installation of a green roof and carbon dioxide sensors, large volumes of fresh air circulating throughout the building, CFL and LED lighting throughout, use of low VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints and adhesives, along with re-use of recycled materials and 86% diversion of waste from the landfill. It also merits mentioning that this was a brownfield site due to asbestos remediation during the retrofit project. Jim Newman of Newman Consulting Group helped on the technical part of this LEED project with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).
As a 2011 AIA Huron Valley Chapter Honor Award for Design and Construction Association of Michigan (CAM) runner-up Green Project, the Library is fast becoming a place to sit down, relax, hang out and enjoy the surrounding space with friends and new acquaintances. Record numbers are entering its space on a daily basis and it is ready to establish itself as a jewel and community anchor. After touring the building and speaking with both staff and the new Director, city residents should be proud of this new star on Nine Mile Road. Strike up the band !
Author: Robert E. Mattler, Green Agent Man, representing GreeningDetroit.com / Photographer: Jim Klein, representing GreeningDetroit.com