West Berkeley Library wins 2016 AIA COTE Top Ten Award

April 22, 2016

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West Berkeley Library wins 2016 AIA COTE Top Ten Award

Harley Ellis Devereaux (HED) is pleased to announce its project — The West Branch Library of the Berkeley Public Library — has been selected by The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) to receive a 2016 COTE Top Ten Project Award.

The COTE Top Ten Awards program is the profession's most rigorous recognition program for sustainable design excellence and highlights examples of green design solutions that protect and enhance the environment.

To align with the City of Berkeley’s 2009 Climate Action Plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, HED proposed the construction of a new net zero energy (NZE) facility for the City’s West Branch Library, and thus was selected to design the library.  A subsequent analysis of the additional embodied energy required to construct a new NZE facility rather than expand and modernize the existing facility indicated that the additional energy would be offset by the ongoing cost of maintaining the existing structure within one year’s time.

To achieve NZE status, the design team minimized the building’s energy footprint through a high performance building envelope, natural ventilation, daylighting and passive design strategies.

“One of the building’s more unique and innovative features is a wind chimney that was designed to pull in the steady ocean breeze and act as an engine to draw natural ventilation through the building,” says Michael Bulander, AIA, Associate, Architecture + Design at HED and Project Designer on the Library. “In addition, we optimized onsite renewable energy production with solar panels on a compact roof. By relying on radiant heating and cooling, the building is comfortable without traditional HVAC.”

As a result of the design team’s work, the library is the first certified Living Building Challenge NZE public library in California and has received LEED Platinum certification.

“We are so honored to receive this prestigious award from the AIA,” says Susan F. King, FAIA, Principal, Sustainable Practice Leader at HED. “Sustainability is the hallmark of our practice at HED and this award reinforces our commitment to environmentally friendly design and the AIA’s 2030 initiative.”

Learn more about the 2016 COTE Top Ten Award winners at