AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects

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Willingboro Master Plan & Public Library

This photo shows the library's front facade.
Photo credit: Croxton Collaborative Architects, P.C.


  • Location: Willlingboro, NJ
  • Building type(s): Library, Community
  • 70% new construction, 30% renovation of a 1959 building
  • 48,700 ft2 (4,520 m2)
  • Project scope: a single building
  • Suburban setting
  • Completed November 2004

One of America's three original Levittowns, Willingboro is home to hundreds of nearly identical houses that were designed to be built quickly. The project site, developed as Willingboro Plaza in 1959, provided the main retail and commercial tax base for the residential population of 33,000. The failure and abandonment of the 56-acre shopping center in 1990 was disastrous for the community.

The new master plan for the plaza, developed with the help of the community, was designed to remediate the brownfield site and calls for commercial and residential development and the reuse of as many of the existing structures as possible.

This project was chosen as an AIA Committee on the Environment Top Ten Green Project for 2007. It was submitted by Croxton Collaborative Architects, PC., in New York City. Additional project team members are listed on the "Process" screen.

Environmental Aspects

As the first building to be constructed in an abandoned area with ground contamination and a history of muggings and drug dealing, the library needed to be the visible banner of the new development plan for the site. A dramatic cantilevered entry canopy provides well-lit and secure pedestrian perimeters and supports the signature marquee of letters visible from the road.

The library uses the structural steel frame and concrete foundations of the original building, a Woolworth's store. Daylighting is the library's defining strategy; the building envelope incorporates multiple clerestory windows and major skylights. The clerestories, which run along the north-south axis, cross with existing structural beams, achieving 95% diffuse light with transitory dappled light effects.

Although the library was built at market rate, the project team relied on energy modeling and whole-system integration to improve the building's energy efficiency. The building was projected to have a 57% reduction in peak electrical demand, a 44% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, and a 46% reduction in energy costs-compared with a comparable, conventional building-yielding an anticipated 5.5-year payback period. The gas-fired heater and chiller unit uses no ozone-depleting refrigerants and could easily be transitioned to biofuels.

Owner & Occupancy

  • Owned and occupied by Willingboro Township, Local government
  • Typically occupied by 26 people, 40 hours per person per week; and 3,125 visitors per week, 4 hours per visitor per week


Integrated team, Design charrette, Performance measurement and verification, Brownfield redevelopment, Indigenous vegetation, Efficient fixtures and appliances, Glazing, HVAC, Lighting control and daylight harvesting, Efficient lighting, Benign materials, Salvaged materials, Connection to outdoors, Daylighting, Natural ventilation, Low-emitting materials

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Last updated: 4/23/2007

Our thanks to the ENERGY STAR program of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and to the U.S. Department of Energy, and to BuildingGreen, Inc. for hosting the submission and judging forms.

For more information about the AIA/COTE Top Ten Green Projects, contact AIA/COTE. For help on how to use this Web site, contact .

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