A Quick Guide to Green Libraries

Libraries are moving toward a green and sustainable model for their library architecture, interior design, and energy consumption. They are keeping the future in mind and taking action to protect the environment through the greening of their buildings. According to the LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), framework developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, a sustainable building is one that was built with the following in mind:

  •  The structure was designed and built by utilizing sustainable site development
  • Water savings
  • Energy efficiency
  • Green materials selection
  • Indoor environmental quality

Independent, third-party assessors measure these criteria and rate each category in order for a building to qualify for LEED certification. Here are 3 examples of libraries doing it right:


Green Library Superstars


Taipei Public Library in Taiwan
This beautiful library opened in November 2006 and was the first green building in Taiwan. Not only is the building made of all recycled materials, the roof contains solar cells that that convert sunlight into electricity. The sloping roof also collects rainwater which is used to flush the toilets. Read more here.


Battery Park City Library
The Battery Park City branch of the New York Public Library is the greenest library in the system. The library opened in 2010 and featured “wood floors constructed from window frame scraps, old truck tires laid out as carpet, and a terrazzo staircase made of recycled glass and mirrors.” Flat screen TVs display how much energy and water is being consumed up to the minute. Read more here.


My Tree House
The world’s first green library for children opened in May 2013 featuring “energy-efficient LED lighting, refurbished bookshelves and sustainable carpets were used. The visually-arresting centrepiece in the library is a treehouse whose canopy is made from more than 3,000 recycled plastic bottles collected from the public.” Read more here.

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