California building expected to be largest U.S. net-zero energy library

The Hayward Library and Community Learning Center, in East Bay in the greater San Francisco area, aims to set a new sustainability benchmark and serve as a model for other communities. Once verified, it is anticipated to become the nation’s largest net-zero energy library facility.

The library is on track for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum certification. The 5,388-m2 (58,000-sf) building achieves 100 percent of its annual energy needs through solar power, eliminated natural gas usage, relies solely on electricity, and surpasses building code energy efficiency standards by 50 percent. It also utilizes passive design principles and first-of-the-kind water-saving measures.

This new library is founded on the concept of being “the heart of the city” and is envisioned as the focal point of social infrastructure, serving Hayward’s residents. The design from the firm, Noll & Tam Architects, also reflects that in the building’s serene terracotta exterior, which harmonizes with Hayward’s downtown landscape of brick buildings.

Its understated design, featuring expansive glass areas, derives from an innovative composite structural system that places structural supports on the building’s exterior, allowing the interior to be bathed in natural light, organized around a central atrium. This carefully designed atrium not only floods the interior with daylight, but also facilitates wayfinding for patrons, creates an open and inviting atmosphere, and stands as the centerpiece with its staircase.

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