Birmingham City Council aims to cut carbon emissions by 60% before 2026, and the Library of Birmingham has an important role to play in achieving this target. 95% of waste material from the construction site was recycled, keeping it out of landfill.
The new library was designed to achieve a BREEAM 'Excellent' rating. BREEAM is the leading and most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and enables a building's environmental performance to be measured. Environmentally friendly features include the use of low carbon technology for heating and cooling, low energy lighting and water conservation systems.
The Library of Birmingham has two elevated outdoor garden terraces, which offer an environment for visitors to unwind, socialize and learn, as well as bringing environmental benefits through offsetting carbon emissions and attracting wildlife and local ecology. Planting on the 3rd floor Discovery Terrace includes fruit, vegetable and herbs, and provides an opportunity to help local people to learn about where food comes from and about healthy eating. It also aims to inspire people in the community to get involved with the Library through gardening and to grow their own. Alys Fowler helps Library of Birmingham in search for volunteer gardeners.
Planting on both garden terraces provides welcome green space high above the busy streets in the heart of the city centre, with the 7th floor terrace, The Secret Garden, in particular being a quieter space with denser planting. The Library is aiming to achieve a BREEAM Excellent status, and the Brown Roof and landscaping on the terraces will contribute to this, forming a natural City Centre habitat for local wildlife and birds.
And if you’re looking to do your bit to reduce your carbon footprint, the site is well-served by public transport and there will also be bicycle parking racks near the entrance on Centenary Square.
Learn more about the history of gardening and allotments in Birmingham in our Digging Around feature.