Washington D.C.

Sustainable Stacks Boosts LEED Library Design

The 25% recycled steel in Spacesaver's Cantilever Shelving helps support LEED® certification for Anacostia Public Library in the District of Columbia.

Modern Spaces for a Modern Library

Anacostia Public Library was selected to be rebuilt as part of a district-wide library revitalization effort. As with many modern libraries, the community needed space used not only for book storage but for meetings, adult learning, conferences, socializing, and computing. The neighborhood is predominately low-income with a high number of children.

Library with multiple book shelves and flexible shelving units next to mural on wall
custom sustainable shelving books

Solutions that Support LEED Standards

As plans were developed for the new library, it was important to design a space that could easily be transformed as the demographic changed from a younger population to a more adult population.

The District of Columbia Public Library has projected all new libraries be built to a LEED Silver standard, meaning that the interior furnishings and finishes had to contribute to this sustainable design goal. The local Spacesaver affiliate, as well as Spacesaver’s engineering team, contributed to this LEED library design.

Cantilever Shelving Product Details

Spacesaver’s cantilever library shelving is made with 25% recycled steel content and can be stationary or mounted on our mobile carriage systems to create compact storage for books and media.

LEED library recycled content shelving spacesaver
The local Spacesaver design consultant helped identify options early in the planning process. Learn about all of Spacesaver's sustainability practices.

Local Spacesaver Affililate Provides Early Input

The DCPL selected Spacesaver® cantilever shelving as their storage solution because the product allowed the team to both customize and standardize.

The space planning team, which included Freelon Architects the local Spacesaver affiliate, worked together to create stacks oriented to allow for maximum daylighting throughout the space.

leed library recycled content shelving children's area design ideas
leed library design ideas

The stacks were also designed to feature a translucent resin product in the end panels, which incorporated recycled content and enabled additional daylight to flow through the space. Spacesaver’s engineering department was essential in making this custom end panel solution possible, and their collaboration with the local team contributed to the success of the project.

Careful thought was put into the selection of the shelving paint color so that all libraries in the District of Columbia could be standardized on the product going forward.

leed library recycled steel shelving
"Spacesaver helped to contribute to part of what I would consider the spirit of sustainability, and the LEED Certification level that we were trying to achieve."

- Kathryn Taylor, Interior Designer with Freelon Architects

Achieving LEED Gold

The Anacostia Public Library achieved LEED Gold Certification, which is one level higher than the Silver level the team needed to achieve. The successful collaboration between the DCPL, the local Spacesaver affiliate, and Freelon Architects early on in the planning process was key to developing and executing the many sustainable storage solutions found in the project.

Beyond providing a product with 25% recycled content, “Spacesaver helped to contribute to part of what I would consider the spirit of sustainability, and the LEED Certification level that we were trying to achieve, which was LEED Silver,” said Kathryn Taylor, an interior designer with Freelon Architects.

community leed certified library design
pull out spacesaver library shelf

The DCPL has also decided to use Spacesaver shelving throughout the library system. This allows the system to move shelving from branch to branch, without having to purchase new product as needs change.

The residents of Anacostia have been able to use this new library with its wifi access, meeting rooms, study rooms and children’s area with ease. The sustainable successes achieved by this building’s design were crucial to the District of Columbia and the local ecosystem, but the fast adoption of this new and improved learning space by the local residents is the biggest win for the community.