Martha Washington Library Certified as a Green Building

April 26, 2011


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Fairfax County’s third oldest library, Martha Washington, is as good as gold. This library, which was renovated and expanded last year, recently received a LEED Gold©rating from the U.S. Green Building Council©

This green building certification makes this library one of two in the county to attain gold status, and it is among three gold-certified county buildings. Richard Byrd Library was certified late last year while Crosspointe Fire Station achieved gold in 2009.

In addition, the library was selected as a 2011 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association. Martha Washington was one of 10 projects in the nation to be honored with this award that recognizes efforts to protect the environment.

Martha Washington incorporates a host of green features, including:

  • Energy-efficient design that’s expected to cut energy consumption by 35 percent compared to a traditionally designed library. As an example, the building’s heating and cooling system automatically turns off when not needed, and sensors dim lights inside the building when not needed.
  • Water-saving plumbing fixtures that should reduce water use by 40 percent compared to a conventionally designed library, include as waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and sensor-operated faucets.
  • Large, energy efficient windows that bring natural light into 95 percent of the occupied spaces. This helps cut electricity and cooling costs because artificial lights consume energy and generate heat. Artificial lighting accounts for as much as 40-50 percent of the energy consumption in institutional buildings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • A solar-reflective roof that redirects sunlight in the summer, which helps to reduce cooling costs.
  • A 1,100-square-foot rain garden that treats 100 percent of the stormwater runoff from the site.

The building was expanded from 10,220 to 16,663 square feet, and this library was the third established in the county in 1954. It offers 24 public computers and meeting space for group study, quiet study and community groups.

In December, the library also received a 2010 Award of Excellence for Best Building from NAIOP Northern Virginia.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a green building policy for county facilities in 2008. The policy requires that buildings with more than 10,000 square feet be constructed to meet minimum green building standards, if not exceed them. The policy applies to the design and construction of new county buildings and renovations or additions to existing county buildings.




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