On Thursday, January 9, 2020, the Jones Library Board of Trustees voted to spend $57,050 for services to be coordinated by Feingold Alexander Architects (FAA) to “Define Sustainability Goals for the Jones Library.” The vote follows recommendations from the newly-formed Sustainability Committee.
Early last October, FAA told the Trustees that they could not proceed with new schematic designs for the demolition/expansion project until the Trustees gave them direction concerning sustainability goals. The original schematics developed in 2016-17 did not prioritize sustainability and thus did not merit even the lowest level of LEED certification. The Jones Trustees chose not apply for a Green Library Initiative award at the time of their grant application. A successful Green Library Initiative award could have brough in as much as $450,000.
Trustees now realize that sustainability goals are at the forefront of Town concerns. Once they receive more detailed information from FAA, they can begin to make the difficult financial decisions concerning what it will take to make the project Net Zero Ready. What energy-saving features can they include within the $35.8 million project? Chris Riddle, a retired architect and member of the Sustainability Committee, said that his rule of thumb is that net zero ready may cost up to 10% more in up-front costs.
In order to receive the MBLC state grant of $13.8 million, the square footage must be expanded to a total of 65,000 sq. ft. from the current 48,000 sq. ft. since a smaller building is not possible within the guidelines of the granting process. The Trustees expect that FAA will have schematic designs by mid-February so that the public can be informed.
The Sustainability Committee prepared a detailed memo to the FAA concerning Energy Use Intensity (EUI), which is the measurement of a building’s annual energy consumption relative to its gross square footage. Other topics to be investigated include eliminating the use of fossil fuels, using low embodied carbon materials, and how a whole building carbon life-cycle analysis will impact decision-making.
This last point is critical for understanding how the embodied carbon footprint of the new addition – including demolition – could be offset by a reduction in the operational carbon emissions associated with building energy use in comparison to a code-minimum building. The Trustees plan to demolish the entire 1993 addition (40% of the current Jones Library), creating over 1660 tons of demolition debris. Most of the 1928 original building will be gutted with all stairs and paneling removed and walls rearranged.
The funds to pay FAA for this foundational research will be taken out of the Library’s capital project account, originally funded from the $273,000 Van Steenberg unrestricted bequest. So far, the Trustees have already authorized expenditures from this account of $41,000 for schematic redesigns and $75,000 for the capital campaign, including two consultants and marketing materials.
Other costs for this project include $75,000 spent by the Library ($50,000 from the MBLC and $25,000 from the Town) for the original plans four years ago. Board President Austin Sarat and Director Sharon Sharry said that the MBLC often requires alterations in designs after an application is made so that the first $75,000 was not “wasted.” The MBLC is requiring that the large meeting room of 2,200 sq. ft. be moved and that a redesign is necessary to receive the grant. Sharry stated that such changes occur often.