Building Green

Why - and How - Greenwood Built a Green Library

The Greenwood County Library was awarded LEED Silver certification on June 27, 2011 by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit council dedicated to sustainable building design and construction. It is the first public library in South Carolina to receive LEED certification.

What is LEED?
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings that have minimal impact on the surrounding environment. Buildings that meet LEED standards are recognized as Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum, depending on the number of sustainable design strategies they use. As a LEED Silver certified structure, the Greenwood County Library scored high in all six LEED categories: sustainable sites; water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; indoor environmental quality; and innovation and design process.

Why build a green building?

To save money by reducing operating costs through more efficient use of energy.
To create a healthier environment for library users and staff.
To serve as a model for future buildings in Greenwood County and the state.
To demonstrate that Greenwood County is a leader in environmental responsibility and education.
The Library received a grant from the V. Kann Rasmussen Foundation to support construction of a LEED-certified building.

The Library reduced its carbon footprint by:

Using regionally sourced materials.
Fully separating and recycling construction waste.
Milling existing asphalt and concrete which covered most of the project area so that it could be used on other projects.
Using products with low or no VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds).
Using FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council)- certified wood products and other sustainable products.
Reclaiming green space at the site, and using locally adapted and native plant species to minimize the need for irrigation.
Designating premium parking spaces for carpools and fuel efficient vehicles.
Designing the library for future expansion.

What are some of the Library's green features?

Occupancy sensors and the use of natural light to decrease energy consumption.
Reflective white roof material (except for the copper dome) which reflects more than 78% of sunlight to decrease the absorption of heat.
Stacked plumbing core, which places first story plumbing directly under the second floor plumbing to reduce the amount of horizontal pipe runs.
Low water consumption fixtures to maximize efficient use of water.
A highly efficient HVAC system with wireless access to control and monitor systems.
Certified recycled materials in furniture and finishes.