In 2012 the Dayton Metro Library embarked on a $187 million system-wide infrastructure investment to create a library system of the future—sustainable, equitable, resilient, and inspiring.

“We set out to build facilities that were both aesthetically pleasing and welcoming to all patrons, creating a shared space that would bring the community together and improve access to everything from education resources and job readiness programs, to art, music, and technology,” said Jayne Klose, Community Engagement Manager, Dayton Metro Library.

When it comes to urban planning, communities must look to the future and take a strategic approach to infrastructure investments. The Library partnered with HEAPY, an engineering design firm, to create public spaces that truly served the needs of the community, while leading the way for a more sustainable environment.

A Commitment to Sustainability

Over the course of eight years, the library has built nine new library branches and renovated four other buildings. Sustainability was a major component for these community investments, resulting in eight LEED Gold certifications to date and $340,900 in energy efficiency rebates.

“Working with Dayton Metro Library was a unique opportunity to create public spaces where sustainability and green design could take center stage,” said M. Alex Miller, project administrator for building optimization practice at HEAPY.

The new 224,000-square-foot Main Library in downtown Dayton, Ohio, is recognized for a dozen LEED standards including recycled content, community connectivity, water use reduction, thermal comfort, and optimized energy performance. In addition, the quality of the indoor environment, the abundance of natural daylight, and the comfortable yet functional spaces truly create a welcoming space for all patrons.

dayton metro library heapy gbd magazine

Photo by Andy Snow

“Our team worked hand-in-hand with the architect and the construction team to bring the library’s vision to life, creating truly stunning spaces that were extremely energy efficient and wasted fewer natural resources,” Miller said.

On average, the new and renovated libraries use 35% less energy than a conventional library built to meet energy code. For example, the West Branch library will use more than 40% less energy and 38% less water compared to a similar baseline building.

“These new and renovated buildings will cost less to operate and maintain, which is part of our commitment to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Klose said.

HEAPY calculates that the Dayton Metro Library will realize more than $1 million in savings on energy over the next five years.

dayton metro library heapy gbd magazine

Photo by Andy Snow

Focusing on Equity and Inclusion

Libraries are often the cornerstone of a community, providing access to technology, community spaces, education resources, and job readiness programs. Improving community equity is one of five pillars in the Dayton Metro Library Strategic Plan, and every facility investment was made with inclusion and equity in mind. Through this lens, the team considered sustainability, site selection, accessibility, and technology assets.

“Libraries are so much more than books—they are anchor institutions. It is important that we meet the needs of the community, creating a place for people of diverse backgrounds and experiences to come together,” Klose said.

dayton metro library heapy gbd magazine

Photo by Andy Snow

HEAPY took these diverse needs into account when designing the state-of-the-art electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems. The engineering team strived to create building systems that would work for each unique space, ensuring easy use for patrons and providing optimized building systems for facility staff.

“Good planning and design are useless without ensuring appropriate maintenance and long-term building optimization, because building systems can drift over time and become less efficient,” said Nicholas J. Andrews, project manager at HEAPY. “We were thrilled to see our designs come to life in these unique community spaces and pleased that all our designs achieved LEED certification.”

dayton metro library heapy gbd magazine

Photo courtesy of HEAPY

Special Recognition

Thank you to the following partners who helped make the Dayton Metro Library facilities plan a reality: Shook/Wise; Skanska/ATCS; Group 4 Architecture; and the Dayton Design Collaborative, which includes LWC Incorporated, Levin Porter Architects, Ruetschle Architects, and John Poe Architects.


HEAPY is a nationally recognized leader in sustainability, providing innovative and creative MEP engineering solutions, as well as engineer-led, design/build construction services for the healthcare, education, corporate, government, science and technology, cultural and mission critical markets. HEAPY boasts more than 200 colleagues and maintains five offices throughout the United States in Indianapolis, Indiana, Raleigh, North Carolina, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland, Ohio. The corporation, founded in 1945, plans, designs and commissions more than $1 billion annually in total construction costs and is headquartered in Dayton, Ohio.

About Dayton Metro Library

The Dayton Metro Library (DML) is one of the oldest and largest public library systems in Ohio, consistently ranking among the best in the nation. There are currently 18 Library locations, plus Outreach Services, in Montgomery County. To fulfill its mission to inform, inspire and empower the community, DML offers programs, materials and services for all ages and stages of life. It is funded in part by a portion of the state income tax and local levy support, with support from the Dayton Metro Library Foundation. Specialized services and resources are available for schools, small businesses, nonprofit organizations, literacy providers, and job seekers.

Dayton Metro Library houses a unique collection of local history and genealogy materials. Computers are available for public use and computer instruction is offered at many Library locations. In November 2012, Montgomery County voters passed a $187 million bond issue to fund new construction and renovations for the Dayton Metro Library system. Progress on the project is updated at