This brick-clad library in California is the very first library in the U.S to achieve net zero energy building certification from the International Living Future Institute (ILFI). In addition, its state-of-the-art alternative energy systems are used as an educational tool. Designed by Francisco-based WRNS Studio, The Stevens Library at Sacred Heart Schools in Atherton integrates the data from its rainwater management, photovoltaic and grey water waste management systems into the architecture so students and teachers can easily access the information as part of their curriculum.
The library features several energy-saving strategies including a photovoltaic system which provides all the energy needed in the daily operation of the building. Solar tubes are used to maximize daylighting within the interior spaces, while daylight monitoring systems and lighting occupancy sensors minimize electricity usage. Optimal air quality is ensured through the use of displacement ventilation, while low-flow water fixtures minimize water usage and help save on hot water heating energy. Optimal exterior insulation, together with a specially designed shading system, helps maintain stable indoor temperatures throughout the year.
The interior consists of seven workspaces, two reading rooms, two tech labs, a conference room, office, workroom, open library space and eco-orchard. Its floor plan is flexible and adaptable with modular furniture that can be reconfigured for different uses. In order to use the sustainable systems and strategies as an educational tool, the architects made sure they are visible in the interior space through integrated environmental graphics and dynamic signage.