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Columbus Metropolitan Library
Columbus Metropolitan Library

The Need

The Columbus Metropolitan Library’s (CML) 2020 Vision Plan was originally a $130M project to renovate three existing library branches, including the main library, and build seven new branches. In 2012, we met the CML 2020 Vision Plan leadership team while presenting on “How the Culture of Inefficiency is Out-Foxing LEED, ASHRAE, and Efficiency Programs in the Midwest”. Subsequent conversations with CML revealed the need to embed energy-efficiency into the design, construction, and operation of these projects.

Starting in 2013 with the Driving Park Branch, we have been the enhanced commissioning agent for 17 of CML’s 18 Vision 2020 projects. These projects have been a mixture of new construction, major renovation, and expansion. Only one of our projects, the Driving Park branch, pursued and achieved LEED certification. The combined new, added, or renovated floor area for these thirteen facilities is around 600,000 square feet.

Our Approach

Our rigorous approach can be simply described as ensuring that the thread of efficiency was present from design, through construction and into operation. Our goals were to eliminate unnecessary capital expenses, ensure that decisions around energy using equipment were made in a data-driven manner, and to set up the facility operating staff for success.

For each branch, we assisted CML in generating the Owner’s Project Requirements and reviewing the subsequent Basis of Design. We performed rigorous review of design documents and submittals for energy using equipment. We then performed ongoing construction site inspections. Finally, we performed functional testing of all major energy using equipment. At the conclusion of each project, our team generated a final commissioning report documenting the entire process and a systems manual to aid facilities staff with ongoing operations.

The Results

CML staff have the tools necessary to understand how their facilities were designed and how they should be operated to be highly efficient. More importantly, the Main Branch is an international example of what the flagship library in a major city can be. But, more importantly, CML has a portfolio of newly built or renovated libraries that better meet the critical needs of the communities that they serve.

During the construction and functional testing process, we identified and helped address hundreds of separate issues. Some examples of these include:

  • Missing or incorrect HVAC system components such ventilation ductwork, return ductwork, air transfer devices, heat recovery features, bracing, filtration, etc.

  • Missing or incorrectly installed insulation for envelope and duct systems

  • Incorrect placement and controls wiring of HVAC systems or components

  • The presence of highly inefficient simultaneous heating and cooling

  • Systems operating during unnecessary times or temperature conditions

  • Incorrectly programmed features of the building automation system such as graphics, schedules, settings, and system-interactivity settings

  • Systems operating in the opposite manner as intended such as heating instead of cooling

  • Air-side systems that had been inefficiently tested, adjusted and balanced (TAB)

  • Missing or incorrect data point trending

  • Features of installation that would impede ongoing maintenance

  • Construction procedures that could have lasting impact on equipment

Our Role

Commissioning agent, owner’s advocate

The Client

Columbus Metropolitan Library


2013 - Present


Abdul Qayyum Mohammed, PE

Emily Roland

Neil Wittberg, PE, CEM

Peter Kleinhenz, PE

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