McLean Library Wins Gold for Its 'Green' Design

Another award for McLean's great library.

McLean's stunning library has received a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.

The 's green design features will strive to reduce the building's energy usage by about 20 percent and water usage by about 30 percent when compared to conventionally designed facilities of its size, according to an announcement from the library.

The library reopened July 2011 after an $8 million expansion that integrated the library with its neighbor the McLean Central Park. McLean residents now sit near at the floor-to-ceiling windows that are the library's back wall and feel like they are in a parking watching the seasons change.

Dranesville Supervisor John Foust said, "The county staff who worked on the project, the director of the county library system, Sam Clay, and the community, led by the MCA’s (McLean Citizens Association) Environment committee, deserve a great deal of the credit for this impressive accomplishment."

"Reaching agreement on the final design for the library was a challenge," Foust said. "The community wanted a library that was environmentally friendly and that was appropriately integrated into the adjoining park setting. Staff and Mr. Clay showed great patience with us and enthusiasm for helping us accomplish those goals. The final product is a beautiful, environmentally friendly building we can all be proud of."

Citizens fought with county officials for years over the look and uses of the new library. The early plans included moving the Dranesville Supervisor's Office there and cutting down a large number of trees.

Neither of those things happened.

McLean library director Starr Smith said, "The county worked collaboratively with the local community to maintain a compact environmental footprint that would allow the facility to blend into the parkland that surrounds it."

Key green design features include low-flow and sensor-operated toilets and faucets, energy-efficient lighting fixtures, large windows to maximize natural lighting and the installation of a "green" roof.

The library is next to a Chesapeake Bay Resource Protection Area. Vegetation covers approximately one-third of the building and provides a number of environmental benefits, including:

  • Reducing the amount of stormwater that runs into streams, rivers and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Absorbing air pollution and carbon dioxide.
  • Reducing the energy needed to cool the building in the summer.

Fairfax County now has a total of 11 LEED certified buildings — six of which have received LEED Gold certifications.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors adopted a green building policy for county facilities in 2008. The policy requires that buildings with more than 10,000 square feet be constructed to meet minimum green building standards, if not exceed them.

The policy applies to the design and construction of new county buildings and renovations or additions to existing county buildings.

Gigi May 01, 2012 at 01:07 PM
I love our library and our perfectly located community center.
McLean Mom May 01, 2012 at 03:12 PM
The children's section is sterile and unwelcoming to children, with stuffed animals on the shelves with signs that read, "for display purposes only, do not touch" - in the CHILDREN'S section? Also, no interactive activities, puzzles, computers, etc. I have found other neighboring towns to be more welcoming of children. Also, the absence of a crosswalk between the community center and library, where walkers are forced to walk between parked cars, is dangerous.
Ivy Main May 02, 2012 at 12:44 PM
Congratulations to all who worked on it. LEED Gold gives McLean a reason to be proud, and I hope it will show the way to private companies on how to make a building beautiful, functional and green.


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