Oakton Library Receives Green Building Certification

Oct. 15, 2009

News Highlights  

  • Oakton Library receives LEED Silver certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
  • The building conserves energy and water, saving taxpayers an estimated $15,000 per year.
  • Oakton cuts energy use by 26 percent and water consumption by 41 percent compared to a similar kind of facility.

More Information 

Oakton Library Exterior
Oakton Library Exterior
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Oakton Library Interior
Oakton Library Interior
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Bird Feeders at Oakton Library
Bird Feeders at Oakton Library
(Click for High-Res Version)

Oakton Library recently received certification as a green building, attaining a LEED Silver rating from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The building garnered this certification because it incorporates many green features and design innovations, including energy efficiency, water conservation, recycled materials and improved indoor air quality. Besides benefiting the environment, these green features also save money for taxpayers — an estimated $15,000 per year.

Compared to a traditionally built library branch, Oakton Library cuts energy bills by 26 percent, producing a savings of about $10,000 per year.

These savings are achieved in part by maximizing natural light in the building, which includes seven oversized windows and a raised clerestory. Sensors automatically dim the lights when there is sufficient natural light inside the building.

Natural light helps curtail electric 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 many commercial and institutional buildings, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

To reduce cooling costs, the roof reflects sunlight in the summer, but in the winter, the roof directs more sunlight into the building, helping to warm it naturally. Sensors also adjust air- conditioning levels in larger rooms based on their occupancy.

The building was constructed with water conservation in mind as well. Oakton Library cuts water consumption by more than 41 percent compared to a conventionally designed library of the same size, resulting in a savings of about $5,000 per year. This is accomplished by using low-flow toilets and other efficient plumbing fixtures.

Green or recycled materials were used in the construction and interior finishes and furnishings. For example, there is linoleum flooring in the lobby that contains cork and linseed oil, both rapidly renewable materials.Carpet, ceiling tile, ceramic tile and furnishings contain 35 percent or more recycled content. More than 51 percent of the construction materials came from suppliers within 500 miles of the library to reduce the energy used for transport.

Oakton is the second library to get a green certification. Burke Centre Library is also LEED Silver certified.

Last year, Oakton Library also was certified as a Backyard Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. This means that wildlife is offered food and water, cover and a place to raise their young. Paid for by private donors, bird feeders are stationed outside the building, along with a nesting box.

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.

Oakton Library is a 17,304 square-foot building with approximately 65,000 volumes, 16 public computers and wireless Internet access throughout the building.

For more information, contact the Office of Public Affairs at 703-324-3187, TTY 711.


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