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LEED Certified Libraries of the County of Los Angeles Public Library

Sustainability and the Library

The County of Los Angeles is committed to greener spaces and environment. Explore each section to learn about the sustainable practices incorporated in our library buildings. In January 2007, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted rules to require that all new County buildings greater than 10,000 square feet and funded on or after February 15, 2007 be certified LEED Silver, Gold or Platinum.

East Rancho Dominguez  |   Malibu  |   Sorensen  |   Topanga  |   West Hollywood

What is LEED Certification?

LEED logo

LEED certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. Achieving LEED certification demonstrates the building project as truly “green.” The LEED rating system, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, is designed to promote design and construction practices that reduce the building’s negative environmental impacts. LEED certification, which includes a rigorous third-party commissioning process, offers four certification levels for new construction and major renovation projects – Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum – that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Learn more about the LEED rating system on the U.S. Green Building Council website.

East Rancho Dominguez Library LEED Platinum

East Rancho Dominguez Library

Heat Island Effect: Roofing materials with a high Solar Reflective Index (SRI) to reduce the absorption of thermal radiation into the building. Permeable pavers were installed at parking stalls and at pedestrian walkways. During construction, several measures were implemented to reduce the amount of construction-generated waste and pollution entering the municipal pipelines, such as minimizing mud and dust leaving the construction site and recycling 75% of the construction waste.

All the plumbing fixtures are designed for maximum reduction in water use. The urinals are High Efficiency, the water closets are High Efficiency and Water Sense Approved and the sinks are all aerated and timer controlled. Potable water usage is more than 35% lower than the average usage of comparable buildings. Non-invasive and drought tolerant plants were used to reduce the requirements of potable water for irrigation by more than 50% than the average usage of comparable buildings.

The heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment uses non-ozone depleting refrigerants. The HVAC and lighting systems have been optimized to perform at least 48% more efficiently than required by California Building Code, after factoring in the energy provided by the solar panel system. More than 13% of the total building electrical energy consumption is provided through renewable energy photovoltaic (solar) panels.

During construction the County and General Contractor worked to divert over 75% of the construction debris generated so that it did not wind up as landfill. 20% of the materials used to construct the building and associated site work are a combination of post-industrial and post-consumer recycled materials. Forest Stewardship Council certified wood products were used to ensure that the project did not indirectly support deforestation.

To improve indoor air quality, there are a series of carbon dioxide monitors throughout the library interior which can control the HVAC system to increase outside air flow if necessary. Volatile organic compounds in adhesives, sealants, paints, and other coatings have been kept to a minimum. The building is designed to give more than 90% of the regular occupant access to natural day lighting rather than limiting lighting to artificial light. This reduces building energy usage.

Several LEED credit thresholds were exceeded during the design and construction, e.g. Daylighting, Green Power and Renewable Energy.

Malibu Library

Malibu Library

The reflective roof and light color walkway concrete with a high Solar Reflex Index reduce heat absorption. The library has water efficient landscaping, helping to reduce water consumption in landscape areas by more than 95%. The library is located near community services and in a high density residential area, allow people to visit it without the use of vehicles causing less pollution. No additional parking was added, and an existing parking space is dedicated to carpool/vanpool parking.

The renovated library has water-saving faucets, urinals, and toilets installed in the restrooms.

Lighting, heating, and cooling systems optimized that utilities are spent at 80 cents to the dollar. Green power was also purchased promoting the use of renewable energy.

Over 75% of construction-related debris was diverted from landfills and to recycling centers. The project also used many products that came from within a 500 mile radius, and had high recycled content.

The renovated library allows natural sunlight via sunroofs, and illumination from low-wattage compact fluorescents and LED using light fixtures, which draw little power and reduce heat load inside the building. Low VOCs for all of the interior finishes. No smoking is allowed within 25 feet of be building, so occupants are not exposed to second-hand smoke through entrances or air intakes. There are high levels of controllability for the thermostats and lighting controls that help promote staff and patron comfort.


Sorensen Library LEED Gold

Sorensen Library

All materials have a “Solar Reflective Index (SRI)” which tells how much heat is sent back into the sky and how much is absorbed by the material. The entire library project was designed with high SRI materials so that as little of the sun’s heat is absorbed as possible. Walkways and driveways are light-colored concrete instead of asphalt. The roof is a highly reflective material to keep the sun’s heat out of the building. This lowers the air-conditioning bill by lowering the amount of heat in the building.

Every gallon of water that is not pumped from miles away saves not only water, but energy used to pump the water. By using reclaimed water for all irrigation, and selecting drought-tolerant plants, the amount of potable (drinkable) water used by the site is greatly reduced. This saves electricity for pumping, and reduces demand for new pipe-ways. You can identify reclaimed water irrigation systems by the purple colored water pipes. This water is clean, but NOT drinkable.

Before a building is built, a virtual model can be created on the computer. This model calculates how much energy the building will use annually. Any LEED certified building is at least 14% more efficient than the minimum standard for new buildings in the United States. This building is over 24-½% more efficient. This means that for every dollar that an average new building would be spending for utilities, the County will only spend eighty cents.

It is estimated that one-third of the waste generated in the United States is made up of construction waste and debris. Diversion means the waste does not go to the landfill. Some of it, like scrapped beams, pipes, and other metals may be recycled. Every little bit that does not find a final home in a landfill helps. Every ton of steel that finds a use instead of being land-filled is a ton of steel that does not have to be mined as virgin iron ore from the ground.

Lighting in a library is a special concern. Different people need differing amounts of light to read by. In order to provide those variable light levels, the library was designed with individual lamps where staff and patrons would be reading. The lamps are low-wattage / low-temperature compact fluorescents but provide enough additional light to make reading adjustable and comfortable for everyone. The lights can be turned off when not in use, and then they add nothing to the buildings heat load, so there is nothing to cool.

In order to encourage the development of renewable power sources, the Library has pre-purchased its power for the first two years of its operation from renewable sources. This includes solar, wind, hydro, etc.

Topanga Library LEED Gold

Topanga Library

All materials have a “Solar Reflective Index (SRI)” which tells how much heat is sent back into the sky and how much is absorbed by the material. With a two story building, both the parking spaces and the library itself are protected from heat gain by the highly reflective roofing tiles. The areas that are exposed are either native ground cover or light colored concrete.

All of the plumbing fixtures in the building were selected to minimize the water required for any task. For example, the sinks use high-pressure, low-volume heads to allow for washing with less water. Even the irrigation system, which is using reclaimed water, is designed as an underground drip system, so that the water for the site planting is not lost to evaporation.

Because of its location, the library was designed with a great deal of glass for views and natural lighting. To reduce the energy lost through the windows, the each complete cell is double pane high efficiency glass tinted to reflect unwanted infrared and ultra-violet light.

It is estimated that one-third of the waste generated in the United States is made up of construction waste and debris. Diversion means the waste does not go to the landfill. During construction, the library was built such that instead of the 50% recycling of construction waste required by code, 95% of the construction waste on this site was recycled instead of landfilled.

The ongoing cleaning and maintenance of the library can have a major impact on the Indoor Environmental Quality of the building. The standards for ongoing cleaning and maintenance of this building incorporate requirements to monitor, and reduce or eliminate chemicals that outgas or give off bothersome fumes or odors.

In order to encourage the development of renewable power sources, the Library has pre-purchased its power for the first two years of its operation from renewable sources. This includes solar, wind, hydro, etc.

West Hollywood Library LEED Gold

West Hollywood Library

The building is situated within the West Hollywood community and the vast open space of West Hollywood Park. Over 10 community services are located within ½ mile of the site. The building is in close proximity to multiple public transportation options as well as provide facilities (bike racks & shower facilities) for individuals biking to the complex. A 90-car parking garage was built to serve the Library with grass and vegetation on the roof top thus reducing heat effects.

Baseline water reduction methods used at the site include low-flow sinks, water-saving toilets and waterless urinals in the restrooms resulting in 44% reduced water use.

Energy efficiency measures incorporated into the building include efficient fenestrations, solar shading, efficient chiller system, reduced light power densities and a photovoltaic renewable energy system. This photovoltaic system produces solar energy equivalent to nearly 5% of the building’s total energy use.

During construction over 2,800 tons (96%) of on-site generated construction waste was diverted from landfills. Additionally, more than 25% of all construction materials were sourced locally and 14.5% of the total building material content by value were manufactured using recycled materials. Nearly 2/3 of the total wood-based materials in the building were harvested from certified forests.

Indoor conditions are of particular note especially in a public building. During construction low-emitting adhesives, sealants, coatings, carpets and paints were used throughout the building. Prior to occupant move-in, a two-week flush out of the building was performed to settle and remove all particles and pollutants. Carbon dioxide monitoring sensors are installed throughout the facility which has daylight and views in 90% of the building.

A LEED Accredited Professional was a part of the design team from the early stages of design. With the assistance of this professional the project was able to achieve bonus exemplary performance results in diversion of on-site generated construction waste from landfills, water use reduction and vegetated open space. The building is further maintained through a “green housekeeping program.”