Former main library setting eco-friendly example

When you step inside the Jessie Ball duPont Center on East Adams Street, you can't help but be awestruck. It's open, airy and extremely eco-friendly.

“The challenge was to restore and enhance the existing attributes of the building, while creating a new facility,” Brooke Robbins, architect for KBJ Architects, Inc., explained.

Robbins was one of the architects tasked with transforming the duPont Center. It was Jacksonville's main public library from 1965 to 2005 and sat dormant until last year.

Roughly $25 million dollars later, it was turned into a hub for non-profits like United Way and First Coast YMCA.

There’s a cistern to collect rain water, recycle bins, all new windows with energy efficient glazing, occupancy sensors for the lights --- even solar panels on the roof.

“We’re working with 13 other non-profit tenants and we take turn washing dishes, keeping the kitchen clean and just making sure all these beautiful shared spaces are ready for everyone's use,” Jeff Winkler with United Way said.

Robbins says not only does this building cut down on utility bills, it serves as a blueprint for downtown’s future.

“I think this is a great example of what you can do with vacant buildings if you take the time (and obviously), the money,” Robbins said.

Trending on ActionNewsJax.com: