Are you building or remolding your library? Check out Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. It’s a “third party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.” (LEED Rating System Info) LEED looks at 5 areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
For new construction check out LEED for New Construction. There are 4 levels: certified, silver, gold, platinum (levels are according to how many points you are awarded for meeting criteria in design, operations, construction and management). There is also specific LEED Certification for K-12 school (which can included higher ed)
Why LEED? There are environmental and financial benefits to getting certified green building (from LEED certification site):
- Lower operating costs and increased asset value.
- Reduce waste sent to landfills.
- Conserve energy and water.
- Healthier and safer for occupants.
- Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
- Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.
- Demonstrate an owner’s commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.
Read this article/study which shows LEED Buildings Outperform Peers for more info. The US Green Building Council Web site also provides many resources, details, templates, guides, and tools that would be a great help when considering LEED certification.
You also don’t have to be constructing a new building to go green. Here is an article on how to take existing buildings and transform them into LEED for Existing Buildings Certification (for Operations and Maintenance).