Denver Public Library’s Green Valley Ranch Branch Receives LEED Gold Certification
The Gold Certification award is based on the library’s aggressive efforts to design, build and operate the facility in a sustainable way that helps to protect and enhance the environment. Denver’s commitment to sustainability is embodied in the Greenprint Denver initiatives, driven by a 2007 executive order which requires all buildings renovated or maintained with city funds to be designed, constructed, and operated according to principals outlined in the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED. LEED measures how well a building performs across metrics of energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor air quality and stewardship of natural resources. The Green Valley Ranch Branch Library opened on March 12, 2011 and was funded by the 2007 voter-approved Better Denver Bond.
Specific measures taken to achieve LEED Gold included:
- To encourage the reduction of pollution and land development impacts from automobile use, preferred parking has been given to low-emitting and fuel efficient vehicles. Green Valley Ranch Branch also provides bike racks for patrons and staff to encourage the use of alternative transportation.
- The Library has been built upon a previously developed site and designates over 50% of the site to be maintained as vegetated open space.
- Solar tubes produce a significant portion of the Green Valley Ranch Branch’s daytime lighting. Photocell sensors throughout the Library adjust internal light levels to accommodate external daylighting. This daylight improves the quality of light available for browsing and reading while reducing the library’s electric bill.
- The generous amount of sun available year-round is captured and diffused throughout interior spaces. Large windows offer a connection to the outdoors and natural light. Within Green Valley Ranch Branch, 75% of spaces have access to natural light and 90% have a view to the outdoor environment.
- The Library has been able to achieve a 30% water use reduction with low flow aerators to all lavatories and dual-flush valves at all toilets. These strategies mitigate, or eliminate unnecessary excesses in water volume.
Energy & Atmosphere
- The Green Valley Ranch Branch uses an evaporative cooling system and a heat exchanger to help reduce the amount of energy used to cool and heat the building. The evaporative cooler is a device that cools air through the simple evaporation of water. The heat exchanger takes the heat for discharged air and uses that heat to pre warm fresh intake air.
- Many of the library’s windows have been designed with sunshades on the west of the building to reduce heat gain and glare. Deeply shaded overhangs to the south shade the south elevation and create exterior covered walks and seating areas.
- Green Valley Ranch Branch is equipped with Occupancy and Daylight sensors to monitor activity and light levels within spaces, turning lights on or off accordingly.
Materials & Resources
- At least 10% of the Green Valley Ranch Branch is composed of regional materials, produced within a 500 mile area. These materials include local concrete, brick, stone and recycled steel.
- Green Valley Ranch facilitates the collection of recyclables including refuse printer paper, corrugated cardboard, glass and plastic bottles, and aluminum cans.
- Sustainability takes into account the emission levels of paint, sealants, adhesives, and carpet. Green Valley Ranch Library is composed within finishes and adhesives low in volatile organic compounds (VOC), resulting in a healthier indoor environment.
The Architecture Challenge
- The Green Valley Ranch Branch was designed to meet the 2030 challenge of reducing energy use and fossil fuels at least 60% of the energy used by current libraries. This reduction will lead to an energy savings and a yearly cost savings to the library.