Duke University’s Rubenstein Library, which was dedicated in October following a two-year restoration and renovation, has received LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification from the US Green Building Council. It is the third Duke library project to be LEED Certified and the University’s seventh LEED Gold Certified building. The project’s most visible sustainable strategy was preserving the library building – one of the oldest academic structures on Duke’s West Campus – and elements of its 1948 and 1968 additions.
Preserving the building while preparing a new home for some of Duke’s most fragile collections posed the greatest challenge. The old multi-story stack-supported storage at the heart of the facility had to be removed and replaced with a new stack core aligned to the adjoining floor plates and designed for highly sensitive environmental use, with specialized humidity, temperature, and lighting controls. This required careful planning and a long and complex construction process that was undertaken with great precision.
In addition to preserving the original building, the renovation recycled more than 75% of construction waste, diverting it from landfills. Other resource management strategies included the use of regionally sourced products and materials with more than 20% pre- and post-consumer recycled content. Low-flow fixtures reduce water consumption by 30%, while energy-efficient fixtures and light and motion sensors optimize energy performance. Low-VOC finishes, carpets, and sealants contribute to the building’s indoor air quality.
The Rubenstein Library project is the final phase of the 15-year expansion and renovation of the Perkins Library Complex begun with Shepley Bulfinch’s 2001 master plan. Bovis Lend Lease was the Rubenstein Library project construction manager.
While this is the first Duke University Library to attain the level of LEED Gold Certification, the Bostock Library addition and Smith Warehouse are both LEED Certified. Designing buildings that are surrounded by green space is a guiding principle of campus planning at Duke. The University has demonstrated a strong commitment to infill building while preserving and creating green space. Duke has made significant commitments to green design and construction, including a commitment that new construction and major renovations will achieve LEED Certification, with a goal of LEED Silver.
Today, Duke University has more than 30 LEED Certified buildings totaling over 5.4 million square feet, including three LEED Platinum certified buildings. Twenty-eight percent of Duke University’s total square footage is LEED registered or certified.