Climate change is one of the biggest challenges we face this century.

As stewards of knowledge, libraries play a part in educating and demonstrating the importance of environmental sustainability. According to the American Library Association, “Libraries by their very nature are ‘green’ in that their resources are shared by the larger community.” Yet, there’s still a lot more we can do.

NUS’ largest and flagship library, the Central Library, achieved the Green Mark Platinum certification by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) on March 2020.

The Green Mark certification scheme was launched in January 2005 to promote sustainable design and best practices in construction and operations in buildings. In 2018, BCA launched the Super Low Energy (SLE) Programme to push the envelope of environmental sustainability in Singapore.

SLE buildings feature best-in-class energy efficiency, the use of onsite and offsite renewable energy and other intelligent energy management strategies.

The Central Library’s green features include:

  • Energy efficient chilled water plant (operating efficiency – 0.58 kW/RT)
  • Energy efficient lighting system (>60% savings over baseline)
  • Use of motion sensors for toilets and staircases
  • Extensive greenery around main entrance foyer
  • Extensive use of sustainable products
  • Naturally ventilated circulation space to adjacent buildings
  • Provision of 460 kWp photovoltaic system
  • 48% energy savings vs NRB 2015 reference

Besides reducing energy consumption, the Central Library BookBridge is a first-of-its-kind bookshelf made from tropical Mass Engineered Timber (MET), a renewable, sustainable building material for architecture. The 31-metre BookBridge was launched in March 2021 and houses the library’s rare book collection that needs to be stored in a controlled environment.

The Central Library BookBridge at Level 2

“We have a big part to play in sustainability. Energy efficiency is part of greening the environment and more importantly translates to cost savings,” said Mrs Lee Cheng Ean, University Librarian of NUS Libraries.AUSCL2

The Central Library’s efforts in greening the environment is part of its space revitalisation project which kicked off in 2018. Since then, it has come a long way. Phase 3 (of 4) of its transformation was completed in early 2021.AUSCL3

Watch this video to see the latest renovated floors. The project is currently on its last mile towards final completion. Do keep a lookout for more updates of the fully renovated Central Library.

In 2019, the Central Library also won a BCI Interior Design Award 2019 in the Learning Category