Miller Library – The Greenest Branch

July 31, 2014
Elissa Reineck
Howard County Initiatives

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