Loyola’s Paperless Library Offers Stunning Lakeside Views

by , 11/09/10

loyola, eco, green, library, digital, architecture, sustainable, sustainable design, green design, green building, paperless library

In order to achieve LEED Silver certification, the designers employed many additional sustainable strategies. A high percentage of recycled content was used in the project’s construction, Low-VOC materials and finishes were specified, and water saving plumbing fixtures were installed. Surrounding the building is an integrated high-efficiency irrigation system, and a green roof helps to manage stormwater while creating a beautiful view from the fourth floor.

The Information Commons has gained recognition for its unusual energy-efficient systems, and it was recently added to the list of finalists for Chicago’s annual Greenworks Awards. The building is the first in a series of sustainable projects envisioned by Loyola. They also plan on updating and repurposing space in two other libraries on campus which currently cater to graduate students and faculty.

+ Loyola Information Commons

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  1. geva November 10, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    Hi Lea,

    Great point about keeping books up to date – I hadn’t thought about this need; which would certainly be important at a university.

    Another argument to consider about the computers is that perhaps these people all have them. I’m not saying that this makes it sustainable, however it does remove the computers/ereaders/tablets from the sustainability of the building.


  2. Lea Bogdan November 10, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Hi Geva. I love the feedback. Great points. That is an interesting thought – is any wifi enabled space actually a sort of “library.”
    I hear what you are saying about books being recyclable. I would argue that information changes so rapidly that printed resources are potentially outdated by the time they hit shelves. The amount of books, and change over in books, would be drastic to account for all of the knowledge available in real time on the internet. The books may be recyclable, but the printing process could be debatable as sustainable (side note, I think that industry as a whole has made considerable improvements in eco friendly processes). I don’t argue that computers components are a major challenge at end of life.

    In addition to being web enabled, I believe this building can be considered a “library”, because it is a center for student gathering, collaborating, and studying. You are correct as well, in saying it is sponsored by the campus libraries, and is the first in a master plan for updating other libraries on campus to focus on a green architecture.

  3. geva November 10, 2010 at 4:18 am

    I love modern buildings that employ natural climate control methods. This one is stunning to bat!

    I couldn’t help but wonder about the sustainability of a “paperless library”. Books are made from trees which can be replanted. Once printed, bound, and delivered, they do not need any more energy. At the end of life, they can be recycled, biodegrade, or burnt.

    Computers are made from all sorts of compounds and minerals which are finiate. They consume precious energy, as well as all the routers, switches, and other I.T equipment which make them talk together. At the end of life, they do not biodegrade well, recycling is costly and only for some of the components.

    So my question is why would you be proud of a paperless library? Haha… following the source link seems to show that this is not a library, but a common area/building which is a project sponsored in part by the university libraries!

    Seems like I can call my apartment a paperless library – minus the part with the books.

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