New green chapter for the Library of Birmingham

There has been much excitement in Birmingham this week as the new central library finally opened its doors to the public after five years of development. The £188m library with its ten floors of books, archives, galleries, cafes and wonderful open spaces will be a great cultural asset to the city. Less well publicised perhaps are the environmental benefits brought about by its sustainable construction.

The library has been designed to achieve an excellent BREEAM rating, with the building using low carbon technology for lighting and cooling, low energy lighting and water conservation systems. The environmental impact during the construction was seriously considered too, with 95% of the waste material being recycled: a hugely impressive target which will help Birmingham City Council reach its objective of reducing carbon emissions by 60% by 2026.

Other impressive features include a number of outdoor spaces and roof terraces, which in addition to the social benefits; will have a positive environmental impact through offsetting carbon emissions and attracting wildlife and local ecology. The inclusion of a discovery terrace” will allow locals to get involved in gardening thanks to the Urban Veg scheme. Volunteers can help maintain the gardens and grow their own vegetables for the benefit of themselves and the wider community.

Project director Brian Gambles expressed his enthusiasm for the initiative by saying: “Volunteers will develop new skills, learn new things, and create new friendship. It’s a great way for people to contribute to their community at the same time as having a lot of fun!”

The landscaping of the gardens and the inclusion of brown roof will encourage biodiversity: making it not just a place for the people of Birmingham to come together, but a place for birds and other wildlife too.

To find out more information about the environmental initiatives or about volunteering opportunities at the library gardens visit the Library of Birmingham website.