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Miller Library — the Greenest Branch

Wow, have you been to the new Miller Library in Elli­cott City? The joint was jump­ing last Sat­ur­day when I finally took my daugh­ter over there. We enjoyed check­ing out the new space; the kids area, com­put­ers, meet­ing rooms and quiet study areas. The His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety room on the sec­ond floor is neat and it’s all so clean and new, it’s just fan­tas­tic. There is free Wi-Fi and a “Café” (3 vend­ing machines and lots of nice tables). We rec­om­mend the But­terfin­ger cof­fee drink.

I have 2 favorite parts of the new Miller branch – the upstairs out­door ter­race over­look­ing the green roof, and the Enchanted Gar­den. The green roof “absorbs rain­wa­ter, con­serves energy and roof­ing mate­ri­als, mit­i­gates the heat island effect, and pro­vides an aes­thet­i­cally pleas­ing envi­ron­ment.“ Well, yes. It’s also peace­ful and pretty and the plants will look even bet­ter when win­ter is over. The Enchanted Gar­den isn’t even fin­ished yet, but you can tell it’s going to be awe­some. The Mas­ter Gar­den­ers are hard at work plan­ning it, and I’ve heard one part is going to be a “sen­sory gar­den” with plants that are inter­est­ing to touch. The planned “pizza gar­den” looks great already – a round struc­ture, split into “slices” that will each grow a pizza ingre­di­ent like tomato, basil, etc. The focus of the gar­den is health, nutri­tion, and envi­ron­men­tal edu­ca­tion. The gar­den beds will be used to teach chil­dren and adults about edi­ble plants and native plants.

Part of the whole vibe of the new library comes from the mul­ti­tude of “green” fea­tures. Even if you don’t know that it is designed for LEED sil­ver cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, you can see all the nat­ural light pour­ing in. Other fea­tures of the green build­ing are water con­ser­va­tion, sus­tain­able site design, energy effi­cient HVAC and light­ing, recy­cled and local build­ing mate­ri­als, healthy indoor air qual­ity, a rain­wa­ter fil­ter­ing sys­tem, and 72 solar pan­els that gen­er­ate up to 16 kilo­watts of energy per day.

Howard County is a leader in build­ing “green” in pub­lic spaces. Since 2008, pub­licly funded build­ings (30% or more County fund­ing) larger than 10,000 square feet must attain LEED Sil­ver rat­ings. New pri­vate build­ings larger than 50,000 square feet must attain at least a LEED cer­ti­fied rat­ing. These build­ings push the tech­nol­ogy for­ward, cre­ate green jobs, and reduce long-term costs, par­tic­u­larly in energy. Check out the Green Build­ing sec­tion of livegreenhoward.com for more info.

But I digress.

Check out the new Miller Library branch! It’s wonderful.

Oh yeah, there are books there too.

Elissa Rei­neck
Office of Envi­ron­men­tal Sustainability
Feb­ru­ary 2012

Green Tip

Hi, I’m Howard and I’m here to provide you with green tips. Look for me throughout the site and check out my cool interactive games at the Kids Zone.