The biggest story going on right now at the Ferndale Public Library
has nothing to do with the books, but with the building and the eco-minded, money-saving features that went into making it an award winner.
The library, which reopened two weeks ago after the green renovation was completed only to be followed by a destructive flood, has won an Honorable Mention as Green Project of the Year from the Construction Association of Michigan and is expecting to receive the prestigious LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
The hope is to earn the highest LEED ranking of gold. The changes to the library are expected to save $13,000 a year in energy costs. "Green Library" is a distinction that more and more libraries are pursuing.
Architects Seth Penchansky and Dan Whisler, of Penchansky Whisler Architects
in Ann Arbor, handled the design and Frank Rewold & Son
was the construction manager.
The green construction features include the planting of eight varieties of sedum on two roofs of the library, a summertime sight that sometimes generates phone calls about weeds growing on the rooftop.
On the library grounds, under one grass and garden area near the entrance, and around an outdoor garden near the children's area, are a total of 16 bores 400 feet into the ground. They form the geothermal energy system that will heat, cool and ventilate the building.
In addition, the library has a rainwater reclamation system that filters the water and subjects it to UV light to be used for flushing toilets and for sprinkling plants.
There are also motion detector lights in places such as bathrooms. Low voltage fluorescents are deployed and coatings on the glass keep cold out during winter and warmth out during the summer.
"Most of these things you would never see," Sterritt says. "You have to know they're there."
Ferndale's is one of at least seven libraries to have received LEED certification, according to the Green Libraries Directory.
Harper Woods was the first to earn LEED certification in 2005, and the city of Hastings' was the first Michigan library to achieve LEED Gold certification in 2008.
City planners and librarians say as cities look to make municipal facilities more earth-friendly and money-wise, the number will increase.Source: John Sterritt, president of the Ferndale Library Board
Writer: Kim North-Shine