Library Gets Silver Medal for its Environmental Design

The Davenport Public Library's award-winning Eastern Avenue Branch will get to show how environmentally friendly it is after receiving its silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification Tuesday.

The library, which opened about 15 months ago, was built with the environment in mind, with large windows for natural lighting, a water management system and other features, such as designated parking spaces for low-emission vehicles.

It will have a glass plaque near the check-out desk showing off its silver LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. A building can gain certification through a rating system that awards points for various criteria. To get silver certification, a building must receive 50-59 of a possible 100 points.

"That was the goal from the very beginning," library director LaWanda Roudebush said.

The features she likes are the open-book design with the sloping roof to catch water and bring it down a copper wall to a bioswale to distribute rain water. The building's design will save 60 percent on utility costs.

The building's location also lends weight to the certification, being located in a dense population area that offers alternative ways, such as walking or bicycle, to get to it.

"It started with city's vision of the neighborhood," said architect Joe Huberty, of Engberg Anderson of Milwaukee, who designed the building. "We really wanted to integrate it into the setting."

Mayor Bill Gluba praised the city's latest green building, while also calling it an economic development tool. The library helped attract 50 families into houses or condos in the Prairie Heights neighborhood, while the Prairie Farms development has 61 new houses. Both are located near the library.

"This is a wonderful model for the city, our state and the entire country for that matter," Gluba said.

Earlier this year, the library was designated as one of 20 "landmark" libraries in the United States by the Library Journal, and general contractor Bush Construction garnered a Masters Award from the Master Builders of Iowa organization.