High-Performance Windows Used in Historic, Hurricane-Resistant, Green-Designed Library

Located within a mile of the Atlantic Ocean, New York’s Westhampton Free Library has resided on Library Avenue for more than 100 years. Opened in June 2010, the new library, which combines historic aesthetics and hurricane performance, sits on the site of two previous buildings that were demolished in September 2008. These disconnected, aging structures could no longer support the requirements of a modern library.

Public meetings were held to ensure that the new facility met the community’s needs now and in the future. Sandpebble Builders Inc.’s Dan Kowalski, LEED-AP, explains, “Known as ‘dynamic design charrettes,’ these meetings included library board members, users and staff, plus politicians, community leaders and other stakeholders. They were asked what they liked about the old building, and what they wanted to see in a new building.” Kowalski says participants wanted to stay on Library Avenue, that they liked the look of the old building and that reading spaces with natural light and fresh air were important.

Ward Associates P.C. designed a classic colonial revival building that would offer both function and performance. The new 14,250-square-foot structure replicates the original, one-story, wood-framed library, while providing twice the square footage.

Ward Associates P.C. selected Kolbe’s Ultra Series extruded aluminum clad windows with K-Force® Impact performance. The windows feature laminated insulating units with LoE²-270 glass and are also hurricane-rated.

On the library’s interior, ensuring the windows maximized daylighting was also important. The architect chose 8-foot-high, oversized windows mimicking traditional, cottage-style, double-hung windows to overlook the 1,800-square-foot reading garden on the south side of the library.

The garden area’s south-facing windows were crafted by factory-mulling together a 72-inch fixed casement with a 24-inch operable awning transom with steel reinforcements. A number of 8- x 8-foot openings on the front of the building required the windows to be mulled on site.

The windows were crafted in rectangular and half-circle casements, awnings and elliptical radius window units. Performance divided lites with 7/8-inch ovolo muntin bars were specified to simulate the historic style of true divided lites. Special muntin bar patterns also were created for the radius, “eyebrow” windows, some of which are up to 10-feet-wide.

Ward’s associate, Pansy Cheng, RA, LEED-AP, adds, “The high energy performance of the windows helps the new library to reduce energy costs by 35 percent below the ASHRAE 90.1 baseline building model.”

The project is seeking LEED gold-level certification.