Libraries as Green Buildings

Libraries as Green Buildings: Designing and Managing an Environmentally Sustainable Library in Germany.

Speaker: Dr. Klaus U. Werner
Head Librarian
Freie Universitaet Berlin, Philological Library, Dept. of Humanities, Germany

Abstract: The “Brain” is the striking metaphor given to the Philological Library at Berlin’s Free University designed by the world famous architect Lord Norman Foster. This does refer to its shape, its exterior and interior structure, which is an architectural consequence of building a library with low energy costs. The heating and ventilation of this kind of dome is cheaper than a rectangular structure because of there is less space, less cubic meters. For the Philological Library, a new energy-saving ventilation and temperature control concept was developed that allows natural ventilation of the building. In addition of a concrete core temperature control, there is no need of a traditional air conditioning with its high consumption of energy. The building was fitted with a double shell of aluminum panels and sun protection glass outside for this purpose (and an inner skin of white fabric), with the ceiling cavity thus created serving as an air supply and exhaust system: membranes on the interior of the dome, and air vents on the exterior. Depending on different weather conditions, certain sections can thus be completely opened or closed. This additional temperature control is carried out by means of a network of plastic pipes laid in the concrete shafts and the intermediate floor of the five levels of the building. Warm or cold water is conducted through them as required. The district heating network supplies the energy. The library is not only a spectacular “green” building, but a location with very good climate conditions – by low costs.