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Harvard University Library Notes / September 2007 / No. 1339
90 Mt. Auburn's Green Features Earn Gold Certification
On August 21, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) designated the University Library's multiservice facility at 90 Mt. Auburn Street a gold-certified,sustainably designed and constructed "green building." Through its LEED (Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design) certification program, USGBC recognizes concerted efforts to select sustainable sites, improve water efficiency, minimize energy use, select environmentally preferred building materials, provide an improved indoor environmental quality, and utilize innovative strategies to improve building performance. LEED certification is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high-performance green buildings.
The University Library inaugurated operations from 90 Mt. Auburn Street in May 2006, uniting under a single roof HUL's Office for Information Systems (OIS), Weissman Preservation Center (WPC), and Open Collections Program (OCP), as well as Cambridge-based personnel for the Harvard Depository and HUL human resources. The facility, constructed and operated by Harvard Real Estate Services, was designed by Leers Weinzapfel Associates Architects of Boston, with an equally green interior fit-out commissioned by HUL and designed by Samuel Anderson Architects of New York City.
From the outset, 90 Mt. Auburn Street was conceived as a green building. Geothermal heat pumps heat and cool the building and provide its hot-water supply. While such systems have a fairly long history in residential construction, Harvard is a leader and innovator in installing ground-source heat pumps (GSHP) in institutional buildings, such as 90 Mt. Auburn Street.
Other green features include variable-speed drives on hot and chilled-water pumps, energy-efficient lighting, and "low-e" glazing in the windows, which together led to 90 Mt. Auburn Street's rating as 32% more efficient than a comparable building of standard construction. With its Energy Star roof and careful window placement—the majority of the fenestration has a northern exposure—the building limits its solar heat gain and lessens its cooling load throughout the year. Highly efficient sinks and toilets yield an estimated 43% reduction in water use.
According to Barbara Graham, associate director of the University Library for administration and programs, "The building exemplifies 'green' construction techniques and the University's commitment to them. HUL itself commissioned Sam Anderson's interior fit-out of 90 Mt. Auburn Street. We're proud to provide an unquestionably green environment as well as well-designed work spaces—notably the special collections conservation lab—that reflect the important nature of the work that HUL does every day."