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LEED Certified Libraries of the County of Los Angeles Public Library

Sustainability and the Library

The County of Los Angeles is committed to greener spaces and environment. Explore each section to learn about the sustainable practices incorporated in our library buildings. In January 2007, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors adopted rules to require that all new County buildings greater than 10,000 square feet and funded on or after February 15, 2007 be certified LEED Silver, Gold or Platinum.

What is LEED Certification?

LEED logo

LEED certification is the recognized standard for measuring building sustainability. Achieving LEED certification demonstrates the building project as truly “green.” The LEED rating system, administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, is designed to promote design and construction practices that reduce the building’s negative environmental impacts. LEED certification, which includes a rigorous third-party commissioning process, offers four certification levels for new construction and major renovation projects – Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum – that correspond to the number of credits accrued in five categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Learn more about the LEED rating system on the U.S. Green Building Council website.

Sorensen Library LEED Gold

LEED GoldBadge Sorensen Library

Sustainable Sites

All materials have a “Solar Reflective Index (SRI)” which tells how much heat is sent back into the sky and how much is absorbed by the material. The entire library project was designed with high SRI materials so that as little of the sun’s heat is absorbed as possible. Walkways and driveways are light-colored concrete instead of asphalt. The roof is a highly reflective material to keep the sun’s heat out of the building. This lowers the air-conditioning bill by lowering the amount of heat in the building.

Water Efficiency

Every gallon of water that is not pumped from miles away saves not only water, but energy used to pump the water. By using reclaimed water for all irrigation, and selecting drought-tolerant plants, the amount of potable (drinkable) water used by the site is greatly reduced. This saves electricity for pumping, and reduces demand for new pipe-ways. You can identify reclaimed water irrigation systems by the purple colored water pipes. This water is clean, but NOT drinkable.

Energy & Atmosphere

Before a building is built, a virtual model can be created on the computer. This model calculates how much energy the building will use annually. Any LEED certified building is at least 14% more efficient than the minimum standard for new buildings in the United States. This building is over 24-½% more efficient. This means that for every dollar that an average new building would be spending for utilities, the County will only spend eighty cents.

Materials & Resources

It is estimated that one-third of the waste generated in the United States is made up of construction waste and debris. Diversion means the waste does not go to the landfill. Some of it, like scrapped beams, pipes, and other metals may be recycled. Every little bit that does not find a final home in a landfill helps. Every ton of steel that finds a use instead of being land-filled is a ton of steel that does not have to be mined as virgin iron ore from the ground.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Lighting in a library is a special concern. Different people need differing amounts of light to read by. In order to provide those variable light levels, the library was designed with individual lamps where staff and patrons would be reading. The lamps are low-wattage / low-temperature compact fluorescents but provide enough additional light to make reading adjustable and comfortable for everyone. The lights can be turned off when not in use, and then they add nothing to the buildings heat load, so there is nothing to cool.

Innovation & Design

In order to encourage the development of renewable power sources, the Library has pre-purchased its power for the first two years of its operation from renewable sources. This includes solar, wind, hydro, etc.

LEED Libraries

Read more about the library's other LEED Buildings.