November 1, 2018

Eneref Institute examines how the number of patrons using the library increases with the installation of skylights.

“Having beautiful spaces was really important and a large part of that was having daylight available at the branch.” 

Natural Interior Daylight Brings Light and Joy to Berkeley West Library

“Having beautiful spaces was really important,” explains librarian Sarah Denton, “and a large part of that was having daylight available at the branch.”

Denton, is the Manager for Branch and Children’s Services for City of Berkeley, Berkeley Public Library, West Branch Library.

“But also feeling connected to the outside,” Denton said, expressing how brightening the space with natural interior daylight was an improvement over the darker interiors of the previous buildings.

The West Branch Library is a completely new building, designed to comply with the City of Berkeley’s 2009 Climate Action Plan. According to Neal DeSnoo, with Berkeley’s Energy Program Management team, the Climate Action Plan “sets the ambitious goal of reducing local greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 and envisions a city where new and existing buildings achieve Zero Net Energy consumption through energy efficiency and renewable energy sources.”

To achieve the goal set by the Climate Action Plan, every new building Berkeley constructs needs to be a Zero Net Energy building, according to Gerard Lee, an architect with Harley Ellis Devereaux, whose firm won the bid for the new West Branch Library because of their attention to energy reduction methods. Harley Ellis Devereaux’s Green Studio also provides energy consulting to a number of other architectural firms.


“It’s very busy, continuously from when we open until when we close. Patrons want to be inside of a beautiful interior.” Amanda Myers agrees with Sarah Denton, and takes it one step further. “It’s easy to come to work because it’s a beautiful building.”

Advocacy Report, Right to Daylight, Wellness for Schools