Universiteit Leiden

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A more sustainable University Library

The plans for making the University Library (UB) more sustainable will be carried out in three steps: first the glazing at the front of the building will be replaced with HR++ glass, then the skylights will be renewed and finally the air conditioning system will be updated. Once these steps have been completed, the well-insulated UB will have low-temperature heating and will be ready for connection to the geothermal heating system (WKO). The piping system has already been installed under the ground along the Witte Singel.

Replacement of the front windows

To be able to heat a building at low temperature using a heat exchanger, it is important that the building is well insulated. This is not yet the case for the UB, and one of the measures to be taken is to replace the old glazing with HR++ glass. This glass is given a heat-resistant coating which means the current sun blinds will no longer be needed. At the same time, maintenance will be carried out on the window frames, which will be sanded down and repainted. Asbestos remediation will also be carried out when the glass is replaced as the glazing sealant contains a minimal amount of asbestos that has to be removed. As the glass is adhesive bonded, it falls into Risk Class 1 (low risk) and there is no possibility of asbestos fibre emissions. The removal will nonetheless be carried out with due care and in line with safety protocols. Replacing the front windows and the painting work will be completed in the last quarter of 2024.

Work on the window frames of the University Library started in March.

Transport by water

To keep CO2 emissions to a minimum, the glass panes will be transported by water using zero-emission push boat via the Rhine to the Rijn en Schiekade. Removal of the old glass panes will also be done by push boat. Access by water will be kept free at all times. The push boat  will be moored along the quayside at the rear of the UB during unloading and loading. This may take half a day.  The glass panes will be lifted from and onto the boat using a crane lorry.  The roadway may be blocked for a short time while this is taking place. Several parking spaces alongside the water at Maliebaan to the rear of the UB may be occupied for some time by two containers stacked on top of one another.

Glass skylights and installations

The replacement of the skylights on the roof of the UB will start in the second quarter of 2025, along with the renovation of the roof insulation where necessary. This will ensure that not only the front facade but also the roof will be well insulated. This will be followed by the upgrade of the building installations. The building work and the connection to the WKO will be completed by the end of 2025.  

This page will be kept updated as new information on the project becomes available.

Redesign of the public spaces

The open space between the University Library and the recently finished Herta Mohr building (previously Cluster Zuid) will be redesigned, providing more greenery and pleasant seating areas. The plane trees from the Cluster Noord (Matthias de Vrieshof) square have already been moved there. In the future, Cluster Noord will also have a green forecourt in the same style.

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