Libraries across the country are increasingly recognizing green building and sustainable construction as trends worth following. Georgia's public library systems are embracing the green movement and are hoping to take advantage of the energy savings, productivity increases and positive public perception that it brings.
Federal and state government initiatives in the form of tax rebates and credits, heightened demand by communities and dramatic improvements in the quality and variety of sustainable materials are among the many additional factors driving libraries to "go green," explained Nathan Rall, director of Library Facilities, Planning & Construction for GPLS.
"Fifteen public libraries are currently in design or construction utilizing capital outlay funding from the state," Rall explained. "I anticipate that number to increase to 20 or so by the end of the year. [snip]
To help educate members of the Georgia library community about green building and best practices that apply to construction and maintenance, GPLS sponsored its first Facilities Summit Sept. 9 and 10 at the Columbus Public Library. Approximately 50 library directors or their representatives, and even a few of their architects, attended.
The entire opening day slate, led by experts David Greenebaum of SOLINET and Kelly Gearhart of the Southface Energy Institute, was devoted to green building, sustainability and LEED. [snip]
"We finally have a full explanation of LEED certification for buildings and its importance in the future of communities across the state," he continued. "Also of critical importance to me was learning the etiquette of selecting ‹ and partnering with an architectural firm. The concept of linking a thorough community-needs analysis, a good long-range plan, an appropriate building program and a design-and-construction team makes perfect sense when you have time to discuss the process from end to end."
"Our mission at GPLS is to empower libraries to improve the lives of Georgians," concluded State Librarian Dr. Lamar Veatch, "and this two-day event is an excellent example of what we are doing to encourage visionary leadership and to facilitate collaboration, education and innovation within the state's library community. We look forward to sponsoring the Facilities Summit on a yearly basis."