Christa McAuliffe library in Massachusetts achieves LEED Silver certification

Christa McAuliffe branch library in Framingham, Massachusetts, has secured LEED Silver certification.

The newly opened 17,000ft2 branch incorporates contemporary sustainable design features, and is named after Framingham native and astronaut / teacher Christa McAuliffe, who died in the 1986 Challenger space shuttle explosion.

LEED-certified buildings need to achieve quantifiable energy and cost efficiency, as well as reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The United States Green Building Council has established the standards for certification.

Framingham Public Library Foundation library trustee and president Ruth Winett said: “The design team approached the project holistically to create a beautiful, functional, and sustainable library that reflects the spirit of McAuliffe. The building features a soaring wing-shaped roof lifting over the main reading areas.

 “The contemporary interiors capture elements inspired by space travel, including 5,200ft2 of windows, maximising natural light: a key feature of the sustainable measures.”

Finegold Alexander Architects principal director of design Tony Hsiao said: “Sustainability was considered from aspirational and technical perspectives with sensitivity to initial and future costs.

"The contemporary interiors capture elements inspired by space travel, including 5,200ft2 of windows, maximizing natural light: a key feature of the sustainable measures."

 “The windows are a design element, while providing natural daylight to offset energy demands. The roof is set up for photovoltaics when funds become available in the future.”

The branch library also includes a main adult reading room, a children’s library, a 50-person capacity meeting room, 21 internet-enabled computer-stations, two study rooms and on-site parking.

It is located at the high point of its natural wooded site, which provides the site with a garden area connected to the Minuteman Bikeway.

The key sustainable design elements in the building lead to a 21% reduction in overall energy consumption, in addition to a 26% reduction in potable water usage due to water-efficient landscaping.

Approximtely 80% of the regularly occupied areas benefit from natural daylight, while 49% of site is open space, without including off-site reserve.

More than 94% of the development's construction waste was diverted from landfill, and 97% of the wood used is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified.