On May 8 I had the opportunity to attend Library Journal's Design Institute at the Arlington County Central Library in Northern Virginia. The day-long conference was fantastic. Below are my notes from the morning keynote address. If I find a moment I'll also post separately my notes from the panel discussions.
Keynote address by Steven Carr – Director of Innovation and Service Design Manger, Plaza Library & Arlington Shop
He was the first librarian to be certified as a LEED professional.
LEED began as a non-profit in 1993. LEED is a building certification system from the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED 3.0 launched a few weeks ago. The built environment uses 72% of energy each day. 40% of raw materials each year goes into new construction. We have a great opportunity to save the environment and save money. Buy in from the beginning. As of April 2009, 15,000 projects registered. 2500 certified. Three largest segments for green building – office, education, and health care. Accounts for 85% of non-residential construction. There’s a heightened demand for LEED residential construction. Sustainable materials have improved considerably. Ultimately there will be 3 LEED categories for accreditation– building design and construction (health care, retail, and schools), a green interior design certification, and green building operation and maintenance. LEED is trying to be consistent across all platforms. Credits are now weighted. The more you can bring to saving energy, the more credits you get. The process is regionalized - different if you’re in Arizona or Virginia. Certification levels – gold, silver, etc.. GSA did study of federal buildings – found 7 things. Could save half a billion dollars in DC area if every federal building did the following:
1) Adjust temp between 74 and 78 degrees.
2) Replace filters
3) Reduce number of copiers and printers. 1 copier for every 25 staffers.
4) Replace CRT monitors with LCD
5) Upgrade the ambient task lighting.
6) Improving access to daylight. Reflective tile on ceiling can bounce light into room from windows.
7) Update windows.
Steven referred to the LEED project scorecard. Some things:
Energy & Atmosphere:
• Do you build in town, or on the edge of town and make people use cars?
• Use landscaping that doesn’t need water.
• Air, temperature quality, etc.
• If a staffmember can modify their own personal environment, sick leave goes down substantially.
• You can use wood, but use locally available source.
• When building demolished, separate and recycle materials.
• Use material made in certain distance from building – not shipped from the other side of the world.
• More points now for innovation and regional priorities.
• Extra credit for using a LEED accredited professional on your project.
He described how workflows at Arlington Permitting building were drastically improved as a result of implementing LEED. LEED is really about making people happy first. That’s what’s most important. It’s also good for the planet. LEED certified building baseline saves 29% energy.
Possibilities of the building – are you building something that is so specific that it could only serve that purpose, or could it be modified into something else (that’s a good thing if it can). If architects pressure you to create large boxy rooms, that’s why. These can be reused for a different purpose in the future.
In Arlington development has been clustered near the metro stations, and along bus routes.
Soon a coffee shop put into lobby of library. Economic development trying to get a kinko’s/copier place in building as well. LEED is more than putting a pretty plaque on the building.
Even if you don’t get LEED certified, there are so many things that you can do to improve any building. LEED system is consensus based and market driven.
Benefits of LEED certification:
• GBCI.org – once registered, you have access to what all the points mean, and can submit questions. Case studies, suggestions – lots of resources become available. Process is 2 phase – design and built phases. Feedback at both phases as documentation is submitted.
• Cost $450 for member of green building council. Design review is $.025 for square foot – as of end of 2009. Will go up in 2010. Cost a little more for existing buildings.
What if your library is in a rural location where mass transit not available? Depending on the situation there are different ways to do it. Lots of libraries offer bike racks and some even offer showers for bikers, at least for staff. Does your library offer reserved spots for people with hybrid vehicles? Spots for people who carpool? One county puts a dashboard on their web site showing energy output of each building each month and each competes to be lower than others – so there’s an incentive to reduce energy costs.
The upfront costs for LEED certification have a 3 year payback. Invest up front and save money in the long term. Cost is about the same now for green and non-green construction. Carpet tile, etc. all pay off.