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Ramona Library's So Green It's Gold

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September 1, 2011

The Ramona Library sits on the town’s historical main street, and some residents have visited on horseback. But proof the library belongs to the future came this week when it became one of a handful of public buildings in the region to achieve LEED Gold Certification, an internationally recognized standard for sustainable, environmentally-friendly building design.

“The County is thrilled to have achieved this goal for taxpayers and for the environment. We are a dynamic and results-driven government and we’re constantly striving to go green and to save greenbacks,” said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, whose district includes Ramona. “My hat is off to the County’s General Services team and its partners who worked so hard to attain the Gold certification.”

The library, which opened in February, was designed with a range of green and energy-saving features. The 21,000 square-foot-building is crowned by three large solar panels that produce about 20 percent of the library’s energy needs.

Inside, patrons can track the library’s energy consumption and production on a digital display.

“When it comes to County buildings, libraries are in a unique position to educate and inspire,” said April Heinze, Director of County General Services. “Everyone who walks into the Ramona library can learn about solar power and take a moment to ponder how much energy a building really uses.”

Also contributing to the LEED Gold rating are a heat reflective roof and insulating building materials and windows that reduce the library’s need for energy-hungry air conditioning and heating. Water-saving plumbing in the restrooms save about 40 percent more water than California building codes require.

Outside, there is drought resistant landscaping with low-water irrigation. Recycled concrete and locally manufactured materials were used as much as possible in the library’s construction.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, certification is awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit that outlines and promotes high standards of sustainable building.

The County’s Department of General Services oversaw the library’s construction working with the design-build team of C.W. Driver and Ferguson, Pape Baldwin Architects, and Manuel Oncina Architects.

The Ramona building’s LEED Gold certification represents the County’s commitment to being a regional leader in sustainable building and its goal of LEED certification for all new County buildings.