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Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

City Library Hopes To LEED By Example

By Jen Thomas
12:00AM / Monday, January 22, 2007

The North Adams Public Library is seeking LEED certification in recognition of the green technologies in place at the historic building. [Photo by Sue Bush]
North Adams - North Adams Public Library officials are seeking Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design [LEED] certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council and expect to learn later this week if certification has been awarded.

The LEED green building rating system is the "nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings," according to information posted at a USGBC Internet web site.

A major library renovation included much "green technology" funded by a $175,553 Massachusetts Technology Collaborative grant.

Sustainable Construction

Following the May 2005 unveiling of the library, the site continued to enhance its' energy efficient and green building technology. The technology includes geothermal pumps for heating and cooling, and the installtion of photovoltaic panels.

"We're optimizing energy performance," said Marcia Gross, the library's director.

The library boasts other environmentally-friendly features that range from an energy-efficient location that's central to the community to "water-free landscaping." The project utilized recycled and low-emitting materials, local labor, and lighting controls, which contributed to the overall efficiency of the energy-start rated building.

Gross cited roof-sited solar panels,insulation, energy-efficient windows, and efficient fixtures as examples of the building's sustainable construction.

Green building project consultant Michael Tillou said he was impressed by the library's progress toward acheiving LEED certification.

Tillou praised the innovative application of features at the library and said he believed certification was likely.

Tillou cited the geothermal pumps performance. He noted that the system pumps to multiple zones and replaced an old heat delivery system that offered poor ventilation, uneven temperatures, and poor air quality.

Facts And Figures

Gross said the new system provides significant improvements.

"Now it's a much more plesasant atmosphere to work in," she said. "We've had different studies evaluate our savings and we estimate that we have about 35 percent savings over conventional systems."

Gross said that savings will occur over time.

"In the long run, I think the system will pay for itself," she said.

The photovoltaic panels produce only 2.5 percent of the building's total electricity, Gross said.

"It's not as much as we would've liked but even if it's only a small portion, it's free and renewable," she said.

Additional information about the North Adams Public Library is avialable at a www.naplibrary.com Internet web site.

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