The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s South Side branch is one of the oldest. It recently underwent renovations and for the first time in its 103 year history it will have air conditioning. Several other branches have been renovated in the last decade, but none have included the geothermal technology that will be in use on the South Side.
“We’ve just worked out that we were able to incorporate the geothermal technology in this renovation because we had enough space to dig the wells and the land around to do it,” said Mary Monaghan, assistant director for neighborhood libraries.
Geothermal takes heat from the Earth to both heat and co ol buildings. It requires no outside fuels, so while up-front costs are high, the system is expected to save a substantial amount of money on energy costs into the future. The new heating and cooling system will allow the library to stay open longer, and is expected to draw more users.
“We’ve always, every summer, including this summer had to close it because of heat – we close un-air-conditioned buildings when it gets too hot. One of the benefits is we’ll be able to maintain a fairly constant temperature year-round and we won’t have to close during the summer months because it’s too hot,” said Monaghan.
The South Side location officially reopens to the public Saturday September 8th with a celebration starting at 11am. The building’s $2.7 million renovation also includes the reconditioning of existing windows, insulation, and a new slate roof. The building also features an elevator, so all three floors are now fully-accessible.