The story at Ferndale Public Library is about going green

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