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Council Tree Library LEED Platinum Initiative

Poudre River Public Library District
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Problem Statement

New library construction inevitably entails many, often damaging, impacts on the natural environment. Operating a new library facility likewise comes at an environmental cost, increasing the burden on finite natural resources and contributing to significant problems such as carbon emissions. As the Poudre River Public Library District embarked on a design and construction process for its first new branch since the District’s formation, we were presented with a challenge of proceeding in the most environmentally responsible way possible.


At the beginning of the planning process for a new library occupying the second floor of a new retail building in a large commercial development, the three partners involved committed to a framework adhering to the US Green Building Council’s LEED certification system.

The District worked with a governmental partner, the City of Fort Collins, Colorado, and a private development corporation, Bayer Properties, to design and construct its new library according to an ambitious standard of environmental responsibility. Bayer Properties committed to achieving a LEED Certified rating for the building as a whole. Through Bayer’s efforts, the building core and shell ultimately attained a Silver LEED rating. The City of Fort Collins, which was responsible for the tenant finish of the second floor library space, and the District, initially committed to attaining a LEED Gold rating for Commercial Interiors. The District worked with City staff, LEED consultant Kelly Karmel with Design Balance LLC, project architects and contractors through the entire design and construction process, to develop creative approaches to construction waste management, water, energy and lighting efficiency, use of recycled, local, and sustainable materials, and interior air quality.


Through the combined efforts of the District, the City, and Bayer Properties, the new Council Tree Library ultimately exceeded the initial goal of LEED Gold certification to become the first public library in the nation to achieve the highest possible certification level of Platinum in the Commercial Interiors category, and the second in any category to achieve Platinum. Among many other environmentally responsible elements, the Council Tree Library achieved:
26% lighting energy savings
55% water savings
85% certified sustainable wood products
92% of construction waste recycled
21% recycled materials
97% EnergyStar equipment