Southwest Colorado Libraries Build Green

On the ALA Tech Source Blog Tom Peters blogs an interview with Victoria Petersen, Technology Manager of the Mancos Public Library in southwest Colorado (and one of my favorite small public libraries!) about the details of green building.  (A side note here: Tom and Victoria connected while working together to build Emerald City, an island in Second Life devoted to helping libraries and library-related organizations to become more environmentally friendly!)   Two southwest Colorado libraries, Mancos Public along with Durango Public library are both building green libraries. The Durango Public Library’s new green building will open on December 1st. Mancos Public Library’s building is still under construction.  Check out this interview for ins and outs of green building.

New Green Schools

The non-profit group Global Green and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) have started a pilot project initiative to create green schools which serve low income children in the Los Angeles area. Two schools have been complete and 3 more are in the works. Global Green is also pushing the initiative for greener schools in New Orleans.  Their goal is to create healthier classrooms and more energy efficient schools. This will not only protect the environment and reduce carbon emissions but improve student performance and save money for school districts. Read more about their green urbanism program.

House Passed the Green School Bill

Did you hear about the 21st Century Green High-Performing Public School Facilities Act (Bill- HR 3021) passed by the House (250-164) last week with a goal at making schools greener? The bill has to go before the senate and has the threat of a veto from the White House, who say it’s wrong to launch a costly new school building program. Arguments from supports say this greener school buildings bill will save school districts billions in energy costs while also reducing health problems (such as asthma) for students and staff. What do you think about this bill? If you are in school librarian and want this bill supported think about contacting your local senator. To find out more about the bill visit:

For more info on building green schools check out this Web site:

Green Roofs

When planning a new library building or upgrading an existing one, could you add a green rooftop?  A green roof is a multi layer roofing system, an extension of the existing roof, with waterproofing, a root-repellent membrane system, a drainage system, and a multitude of plants that grow on top of a building.  Many credits toward LEED Certification (from my previous post) can be earned by building green rooftops.

Green rooftops have been established in Europe for centuries due to both private and public benefits. Private benefits include cost savings (green roofs are estimated to last up to twice as long as conventional roofs AND provide savings on energy heating/cooling costs), sound insulation. (4.7″ layer can reduce sound by 40 decibels), and to provide food production (grow your own food for employees and events).   Public benefits include economic (increase green jobs and products markets), improved air quality (reduce airbourne particulates and increase oxygen), temperature regulation (reducing the urban heat island effect), water (natural storm water retention and filtration), social (aesthetics, health, recreation, and horticulture), and  preservation of habitat & biodiversity (native flora, fauna, and habitat… and education!).

Libraries could offer events, children’s programing, luncheons, evening concerts, meeting space, and relaxing reading spaces on their green rooftop. For urban libraries, this can be especially welcoming.

For more information visit these Web sites:

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities

The Scoupe on Green Roofs

LEED Certification for Green Building

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).

Rate it Green Web site

This free online community – Rate It Green – is a user driven Web site for green building, products, companies, and services including a green rating system. Created by three unique partners and an advisory board looking for new members to join, their goal is “to facilitate an open marketplace where everyone can shop for and buy green products confidently.” The site includes a forum where users can share their thoughts or ask questions to others about products and services and a section on Green Building Basics. For those not wishing to register, the public areas are free to browse but you will not be able to post, rate or comment.

Check it out:

Green Building Event (Houston, TX)

April 3-6, 2008: Houston Green Expo at Reliant Park invites more than its typical design and construction professionals this year as it will focus on green building, sustainable land use, global warming issues, energy efficiency, and green vehicles. April 5-6 Expo Days are FREE to general public featuring the latest in green building products and related services.  There is even a free GreenRide ride-share program.