High-profile green libraries

The Fayetteville Public Library designed by Meyer, Scherer and Rockcastle, Ltd. in Minneapolis opened in October 2004. The library, Library Journal's 2005 Library of the Year, was the first building in Arkansas to register with the U.S. Green Building Council and achieved the silver LEED designation in 2006. To earn this designation the library employed many green-design techniques. The library was built on an empty lot a few blocks away from the city's bustling square, making it a textbook infill project. During construction, any trees removed were harvested and used for furniture or donated to local parks. Throughout the project, almost 99% of the construction waste was recycled or reused. More than 65% of the materials used to build the library were made within 500 miles (800 km) of the city. By incorporating a green roof and using alternative roofing materials, the design team reduced air temperature as much as 20 degrees. Water collected on the roof is reused for landscape irrigation. The library's green roof saves about $4,000 a year in energy savings. The building's reading spaces and circulation desks were situated to take advantage of the natural sunlight without over-working the building's air conditioners, reducing energy costs by 25% and the overall building's energy consumption by 30%. Sunlight streams through 75% of the building's public spaces.

The Seattle Central Library designed by Rem Koolhaas opened in May 2004. It employs a number of innovative techniques to achieve the status of a green library. It is located in a dense urban area, accessible by public transportation. Rainwater runoff is stored in a 40,000 gallon tank, and used to irrigate the landscape. It has triple glazed glass, used to reduce heat buildup. Seventy-five percent of the demolition and construction waste was recycled. Many other green strategies were employed that can be read in more detail here: SPL's green strategies.

The Singapore National Library has been called the greenest building on the planet. Designed by Ken Yeang, it opened in July 2005. It is designed using light shelves that allow the light to filter into the library, without having any harsh effects. During the moments that the sun is either to bright or not bright enough, sensors are programmed to dim or brighten the lights, and raise and lower the shades to maximize comfort and reduce costs (Anisko & Willoughby, 2006).

The Central Branch of the Minneapolis Public Library System was designed by Cesar Pelli, and it opened in May 2006. It has a 18,560-square-foot (1,724 m2) green roof. The green roof is planted with vegetation that does well in Minnesota's harsh climate, and it reduces rainwater runoff, reduces the building's heating and cooling load, reduces the buildings heat island effect, and adds green space to the downtown cityscape (MPL, 2006).

The Joe and Joan Martin Center is the first public building in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County certified by the US Green Building Council. In 2006, ImaginOn was awarded LEED certification at the silver level.

The Children's Museum of Pittsburgh underwent extensive expansion and renovation in 2004 using sustainable techniques and guiding principles thereby earning silver LEED-certification, one of largest museums in the country to receive this designation, and the first children’s museum in America to do so. For more detailed information, see The Green Museum.

Opened in August 2005, UC Merced's Kolligian Library was awarded Gold Leeds Certification in 2007. The 180,000-square-foot (17,000 m2) glass-and-concrete building uses 42% less water and 50% less energy than comparable buildings. The building's carpet contains 37% recycled content, while its acoustical ceiling tiles contain 66% recycled content that includes telephone books and newspapers. Nearly 30% of the materials used to construct the building were manufactured locally, resulting in significant transportation and energy savings.