Boston architecture firm Tappé Architects have merged the old with the new in the transformation of this historic public library in Athol. They turned an aging building into a state-of-the-art Platinum LEED-certified modern place for learning by renovating the existing century-old building and working with the community to design a 14,174-square-foot addition. Reclaimed wood flooring, photovoltaics, electric car charging stations, smart waste management systems and energy-efficient lighting are only some of the green features that earned the building a Platinum LEED status.


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The newly renovated library, located in Athol, Massachusetts, celebrates the economic and industrial heritage of the community and offers views of the nearby Mill River. The connection from the Main Street to the river will be strengthened by the new Riverwalk pathway currently under construction.

Related: Cedar Rapids turns tragedy into triumph with new LEED Platinum public library

The library achieved the FSC wood credit which requires all wood used in the construction of a project to be sourced from sustainable sources. The wood flooring in the library was actually salvaged from old mill buildings in the Athol area as large old-growth timbers that were resawn by an Athol reclamation company.

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Related: California’s Stevens Library is the very first net-zero energy library in the US

Reduced water consumption was achieved through the use of native plantings that don’t require irrigation, and low flow indoor plumbing fixtures. Part of the design are 4 electric car charging stations and various spaces for fuel efficient vehicles and car pools. Over 95% of construction waste was recycled, while energy needed for lighting was lowered by enhancing daylighting with automated lighting controls and occupancy sensors. A highly efficient Variable Refrigerant Flow system with energy recovery make the heating and cooling systems more energy efficient. An array of photovoltaic panels will occupy most of the roof surfaces of the addition.

+ Tappé Architects

Photos & video by Chibi Moku

Tappé Architects, Carnegie Public Library, green renovation, green library, Massachusetts, historic building, solar power, photovoltaic panels, LEED Platinum certification, green architecture

Tappé Architects, Carnegie Public Library, green renovation, green library, Massachusetts, historic building, solar power, photovoltaic panels, LEED Platinum certification, green architecture

Tappé Architects, Carnegie Public Library, green renovation, green library, Massachusetts, historic building, solar power, photovoltaic panels, LEED Platinum certification, green architecture

Tappé Architects, Carnegie Public Library, green renovation, green library, Massachusetts, historic building, solar power, photovoltaic panels, LEED Platinum certification, green architecture