Ballard Branch : Environmental Features

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Ballard Branch

Environmental Features

Visitors to the new Ballard Branch of The Seattle Public Library will see a smorgasbord of inventive environmental features - from the planted "green roof" to pools of natural light in the underground parking garage.

Key features include:

  • 18,000+ low-water-use plants on the "green roof." The plants provide insulation and reduce water that otherwise would rush into storm drains.
  • 17 solar panels on the roof and solar film in the windows of the adjacent Neighborhood Service Center. The Seattle City Light Green Power Program, which provided the solar equipment, monitors how much electricity it produces.  Visit this site to see how much electricity is generated.
  • Building designed to shade harsh light and take advantage of natural daylight, decreasing need for artificial light. Seven skylights at key points.
  • Occupancy sensors that automatically control lights in offices and enclosed spaces. Recycled carpet, glass, ceramic and ceiling tiles.
  • Environmentally friendly adhesives, sealants, and paints.
  • Ventilation systems that monitor indoor air quality.
  • Waterless urinals in restrooms.
  • Light wells in the parking garage that provide pools of natural light to help with way-finding and security.

More about the "green roof"

The contractor used a big nozzle to blow the dirt onto the roof and work crews moved it around in wheelbarrows. A biodegradable coconut fiber mat on top of the 4-inch thick dirt helped the plants get established. Visitors may view the green roof from a periscope in the Ballard Branch.

Plant list:

  • Achillea tomentosa - Woolly yarrow
  • Armeria maritima - Sea pink, sea thrift
  • Carex inops (pensylvanica) - Long-stoloned sedge
  • Eriphyllum lanatum - Oregon sunshine
  • Festuca rubra -Red creeping fescue
  • Festuca idahoensis - Idaho fescue
  • Phlox subulata - Creeping phlox
  • Saxifrage cespitosa - Tufted saxifrage
  • Sedum oreganum - Oregon stonecrop
  • Sedum album - White stonecrop
  • Sedum spurium - Two-row stonecrop
  • Sisyrinchium idahoensis - Blue-eyed grass
  • Thymus serphyllum - Thyme
  • Triteleia hyacintha - Fool's onion

Architect: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Landscape Architect: Swift & Co.
Contractor: PCL Construction Services Inc.

Safe Place

Ballard Branch
5614 22nd Ave. N.W.
Seattle, WA 98107



10 am - 8 pm


10 am - 8 pm


10 am - 8 pm


10 am - 8 pm


10 am - 6 pm


10 am - 6 pm


1 pm - 5 pm

Regional Manager:
Kip Roberson

Libraries for All: Investing in Experiences