Half Moon Bay Library

Location:  Half Moon Bay
Building type:  Public library, new construction
Status:  Completed
Size: 22,000 square feet
Completed: 2018
Energy use intensity: 22 (targeted)
Electric / total energy use: 100%
Property owner: City of Half Moon Bay
Contact: Noll & Tam Architects
(510) 542-2200


The Half Moon Bay Library is a LEED Platinum certified building and is in the process of becoming a certified Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Building, producing as much energy on site as the building will use over the course of the year, using no carbon-based fuels. Upon certification, the library is expected to be the fourth largest ZNE library in the United States.

The challenge was to build a large, beautiful, future-focused library that anticipates the needs of a diverse population without overwhelming the laid-back beach town of Half Moon Bay, California. Achieving these goals required a design process that engaged all parts of the community and created a sense of shared commitment. The result of this process is a design that has created a new, beloved, civic landmark for Half Moon Bay, establishes the town as a sustainability leader, and provides a valuable public resource.

The design of the library features the use of natural daylight to eliminate the need for electric lighting in many areas during the day. The library features generous provision of windows to views in all four directions, bringing the outside into the library and taking advantage of its beautiful natural setting. Most window coverings are automatic to control glare and temperature. The concrete floors in the building incorporate radiant heating and cooling to provide ideal thermal conditions for the occupants.

The building is designed without the need for mechanical cooling. Ceiling fans are strategically located throughout the building to enhance comfort in both heating and cooling modes. Natural ventilation comes from both automatic windows and user-operated windows. The HVAC system provides tempered natural ventilation during cold weather through heat recovery units that transfer the energy in the warm exhaust air to the incoming, colder, fresh air.

Special Features:

  • Onsite 488 kW solar photovoltaic system
  • Heat pump powered hydronic heating  
  • Radiant heating or cooling
  • Energy Star appliances
  • High thermal mass
  • Highly insulated envelope and glazing
  • Natural daylighting
  • Intelligent shading

Project Team:

Noll & Tam Architects
Integral Group
BHM Construction
Mar Structural Design
Guttmann & Blaevoet