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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

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Green Tip

Light soy candles.The oil byproducts in most candles can’t hold a flame to options like soy, since they burn longer and take less of a toll on the planet.