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Sustainable Site at Kendall Neighborhood Library

Houston Public Library
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Innovation Leader: Stephen Chamberlain, Project Manager, Neighborhood Library Manager, Stephen.Chamberlain@houstontx.gov

Problem Statement

Although the Houston Public Library had already initiated four projects seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council, we wanted to “push the boundaries” in the design and construction of the new Kendall Neighborhood Library. Our site is adjacent to a major bayou and linear park. With our consultants, who are leaders in Houston’s green community, we saw a unique opportunity to test new sustainable site strategies with this project, and share them with the public.

Innovation

Kendall Neighborhood Library incorporates many sustainable features, but it is particularly innovative in site strategies. Site Design – Kendall was designed to contain not only a library, but also a Parks Department community center, with a half-court gym and craft room. This allowed the City to build one building with a smaller footprint instead of two. It offers Houstonians, especially children, more services under the same roof. Storm Drainage - The design incorporated dozens of sustainable features, but perhaps the most interesting is the unique underground detention/retention consisting of plastic “egg-crates” under the parking lot which reduce runoff and improve water quality. When the system is completely full (325,000 gallons), it can water our plantings every day for approximately three months. Planting – This is our first library location to avoid traditional grass turf. For example, the bioswale is planted with native plants - Louisiana iris, corkscrew rush, and Gulf Coast Penstemon. The “front yard” features Indiangrass and Gulf Coast Muhly grass.

Progress

Kendall Neighborhood Library incorporates many sustainable features, but it is particularly innovative in site strategies. Site Design – Kendall was designed to contain not only a library, but also a Parks Department community center, with a half-court gym and craft room. This allowed the City to build one building with a smaller footprint instead of two. It offers Houstonians, especially children, more services under the same roof. Storm Drainage - The design incorporated dozens of sustainable features, but perhaps the most interesting is the unique underground detention/retention consisting of plastic “egg-crates” under the parking lot which reduce runoff and improve water quality. When the system is completely full (325,000 gallons), it can water our plantings every day for approximately three months. Planting – This is our first library location to avoid traditional grass turf. For example, the bioswale is planted with native plants - Louisiana iris, corkscrew rush, and Gulf Coast Penstemon. The “front yard” features Indiangrass and Gulf Coast Muhly grass.