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Green South LA Library gets Gold Rating

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Photo by halighalie via Flickr

A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place today at the newly greened Exposition Park Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Regional Branch Library on Western Avenue near USC. The green library is a first for the South Los Angeles region, also receiving the highest second highest rating from the U.S Green Building Council's LEED standards. Here's what made it certify at "gold," according to the city (.pdf):

  • Landscape & Exterior Design to Reduce Heat Island: Additional shade trees and less thermal-absorbing “white concrete” pavement and “white coating” on the roof were used to reduce the heat absorbed by the site during the day and radiated at night. This helps avoid raising the ambient temperature and disturbing the microclimate of the surrounding park.
  • Water Use Reduced by 30%: The installation of low-flow plumbing fixtures as well as highly efficient landscaping irrigation system will reduce water consumption by 30%.
  • Optimize Energy Performance: The building is designed to be 27% more energy efficient than a standard building, by utilizing efficient mechanical systems, double glazing with high efficiency glass coatings, and naturally lit reading rooms with automatic light fixture dimming.
  • Recycled & Environmental Safe Content: At least 10% of the materials and products used in this project were from recycled materials; rapidly renewable materials were also used such as bamboo flooring and cotton Insulation; and low volatile organic compound content paints and coating.
  • Regional Materials: At least 10% of the total materials used to construct the library were from sources within 500 miles of the project site, thus reducing the greenhouse gases emitted by transporting materials over greater distances.
  • Solar power: DWP donated a 480 photovoltaic panels, which were placed on the south side of the building and on the roof to generate electricity from the sun, producing 57,500 kilowatt-hours per year, enough energy to serve about 10 households annually.
  • Transportation Alternative: The library is located close to community transportation such as the bus line and train station.
  • Additional Commissioning: An independent commissioning agent has been retained to verify that the building systems are calibrated and performance meets the LEED requirements. The commissioning agent will also provide maintenance personnel with training and will be available for re-commissioning and verification services.

Was there any greenwashing by the city or this is top-notch? Leave your thoughts below.