Malletts Creek Branch
Opened January 10, 2004
The Malletts Creek Branch is an example of sustainable design. Both the building itself and the surrounding landscape capitalize on environmental principles, thereby allowing the overall project to operate more in harmony with the ecosystem and the community in which it serves. The building incorporates solar heating, natural daylighting, convection cooling, and materials which are from renewable resources and ultimately recyclable. The Library site encompasses principles such as naturally capturing and filtering stormwater and implementing native plants and grasses. The Malletts Creek Branch was awarded the 2005 American Institute of Architects Michigan (AIA Michigan) Award for Sustainable Design.
The Library building design integrates many passive sustainable systems in order to minimize dependency on mechanical systems and to maximize the amount of ‘free’ and clean energy that can be harnessed from the environment. One way this is accomplished is through the large amount of south-facing glazing on the back face of the building. Coupled with sunshading devices, the glazing allows direct low-angle winter sunlight inside to naturally warm the building (reducing the amount of mechanical heat), and block direct high-angle summer sunlight to avoid overheating the interior space (reducing the load on air-conditioning.) Along the southern face, three zones of greenhouse space capture warmed air from the sun, distributing the air inside the Library during cold seasons and exhausting the air during warm seasons. Four ventilating roof monitors with glazing on the northern and southern sides of the Library have been placed along the central ridge of the building. These monitors, coupled with the glazing on the north and south facades, supply ample natural daylighting, thereby significantly reducing the amount of artificial light needed for the interior. Operable windows located along the floor on both the front and the back of the building are opened automatically during warm seasons to provide natural ventilation as well as convective cooling, reducing dependence on air-conditioning. Finally, material selection was determined by recyclability and sustainability, with an emphasis on renewable resources, and the processes used in material manufacturing.
The Malletts Creek Branch site is designed to naturally capture and filter storm water that falls on impervious surfaces, such as drives and parking areas. This filtering is accomplished through ‘bioswales’ that have been placed adjacent to the parking area. These bioswales are vegetated zones that are planted with species that capture and cleanse the water prior to soaking into the ground. This reduces both the burden on the storm water drain system and the amount of contaminants in the water. Additionally, the landscaping of the Library site is embellished with native plants and grasses. The use of native species limits the landscaping to varieties that are able to withstand climate extremes for this region, thereby eliminating the need for chemical fertilizer or constant watering during dry spells. A portion of the grasses along the back edge of the site need only to be trimmed once a year, significantly reducing the amount of mowing, and establishing a thriving habitat for wildlife.
- Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Fact Sheet on Malletts Creek Branch
- Federal Environmental Protection Agency Grant for Malletts Creek Branch
- Going Green: Building a Sustainable Library (Power Point)
- Malletts Creek Image Gallery
- Youth Tour Guide
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