The U.S. Green Building Council has awarded the City of Santa Monica’s new main library the city’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating, Santa Monica Public Library officials said.

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pened in January last year at 601 Santa Monica Blvd., the library is the third Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified facility constructed by the city.

The Santa Monica Public Safety Facility earned the Green Building Council’s Silver rating in 2004 and Virginia Avenue Park earned a Silver rating last year.

The Green Building Council is a coalition that promotes environmentally responsible and healthy places to live and work.

The Gold rating is the second-highest achievable rating in the point-based rating system and indicates that the building has been independently certified to meet sustainable criteria.

Sustainable criteria incorporate design, through construction, planned operation and maintenance that satisfies detailed requirements in which the building helps create a healthier environment for the building occupants, the neighborhood and the larger community.

Drawing nearly 800,000 visitors in its first year of operation, the 104,000-square-foot high-technology main library was built to be user-friendly, service-oriented and flexible for new 21st century development.

The library provides access to information technology and Wi-Fi, has three levels of subterranean parking and includes amenities for patrons such as public art, a bookstore and a cafÈ.

Design features include an open and naturally lighted interior to take advantage of Santa Monica’s beach climate.

Gardens and a 10,000-square-foot central courtyard are landscaped with sustainable vegetation that needs less watering.

Larger sustainable features that helped the library obtain the LEED Gold rating are:

n a 200,000-gallon cistern constructed underneath the building to capture rainwater, used to irrigate the landscaped areas;

n a specially treated roof that reflects sunlight, reducing the “heat islands” that contribute to smog; and

n rooftop solar electric panels that generate renewable energy for the building.

Sustainability is not only found in the design and function of the facility, Green Building Council surveyors said, but also can be found through an ongoing series offered by Santa Monica Public Library and City of Santa Monica Environmental Programs staff.

Programs include the four-part Sustainable Communities through Sustainable Living series, featuring programs on green building, water conservation, sustainable landscaping and the eco-footprint.

The main library’s building project team included architects from Moore, Ruble and Yudell, consulting mechanical engineer Syska Hennesy, general contractor Morley Builders and LEED consultant CTG Energetics Incorporated.

The City of Santa Monica Environmental & Public Works Management Department and its Civil Engineering and Architecture Division provided project and construction management.

Information, www.smpl.org/sus tainability, www.smgov.net/engineering/index.asp or (310) 458-8721.

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