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KFPL’s Central Branch renovation achieves LEED Gold Certification

Images of the newly renovated Central Branch of the Kingston Frontenac Public Library from Kingston’s sneak peek visit in March 2019. All photos by Jessica Foley.

Following its recent renovation, completed in 2019, the Kingston Frontenac Public Library (KFPL) Central Branch has achieved LEED ID+C v4 Gold Certification, a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building.

In partnership with global design firm HDR, the City of Kingston delivered a complete interior renovation and new mechanical, electrical and life safety systems to modernize the library and prioritize sustainability and social equity.

As the first LEED certified public library in the City of Kingston, the goals for the Central Branch renovation were driven by the desire to best serve the community, according to a release from KFPL. Reducing water usage, increasing energy efficiency, and measurably improving indoor air quality are examples of accomplishments that modernize the heritage building in its urban context.

The library’s energy use intensity (EUI) is 55 per cent lower than the national benchmark for a library building, and it scored 24/25 points for optimized energy performance, KFPL stated. Preserving its stone and brick exterior, the design team maximized daylight, provided a flexible and adaptable layout, and selected locally available finishes with low-carbon emissions, according to the release. In addition, most of the windows are north facing, which helps reduce heat gain and cooling loads.

“We’re very proud to further the City’s climate action goals with this renovation,” said Laura Carter, Chief Librarian and CEO, Kingston Frontenac Public Library. “KFPL is thrilled to have a bright, accessible and sustainable space at the heart of our library system.”

Situated within the Sydenham Conservation District, the library is considered culturally significant by the Kingston community. According to the release, enabling it to become a community hub by improving accessibility and reconnecting with the neighbourhood was key to the renovation’s success.

The entrance to KFPL’s Central Branch, looking west Johnson Street. Photo by Jessica Foley, taken March 2019.

Increased window sizes provide visual connectivity to the city, a relocated main entrance improves accessibility, and refreshed landscaping creates a welcoming and celebrated arrival, the library said. Low book stacks and interior glazed partitions allow all public spaces on Levels 1 and 2 to be filled with natural or borrowed light.

According to the release, upgrading building systems with new technology, consolidating core services to allow for extended hours of operation for community use, and improving sightlines to minimize security concerns are design improvements that increase access to information for all Kingston residents.

“Being open to the city, engaging and interactive from the street and within was essential for the library to regain its position as a vital part of the civic experience,” said Susan Croswell, principal, HDR Kingston. “The healthy building impacts with additional light in all public spaces are huge improvements. I think in the end, we were very successful in providing a positive impact to the streetscape as well as to library users. The transformation has provided a building that is more visible and open that can positively change lives by transforming information into inspiration.”

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