• Sun June 01 2008
  • Posted Jun 1, 2008
By RYAN BRINKS, TIMES-REPUBLICAN [BIKEIOWA posted this to show how easy it is to make a business bicycle friendly for it's employees. Secure bicycle parking and a a shower facility is about all you need! (see bolded text below)] Attached to the $1.2 million grant from Vision Iowa that helped launch Marshalltown’s new library to its fundraising goal were a deadline and a string. A very long string. The new library must be built to a high standard of energy efficiency and environmental responsibility. That standard is called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED. “LEED is intertwined with almost every product going into this building some way or another,” said Jamie Rochleau, project superintendent with Story Construction. Even before Vision Iowa, the supporters of the New Library for a New Century campaign were seeing green. “Right from the start we talked about wanting the building to be green or have as light a footprint as possible,” said Allan Thoreson, library board president. “... If you start with the design, the process isn’t as cumbersome of a project as taking an old building and trying to make it LEED certified.” So the architectural firm, FEH Associates, stitched the first end of that string into a vast empty asphalt parking lot. “We’ve always been more in tune with energy efficient design, but going to LEED is a step beyond that,” said John Karrmann, one of the project’s architects. The steel frame and metal stud structure at the core of the library was chosen for its high recycled content, as were the materials for the carpeting and ceiling, he said. Bamboo paneling will be another obvious environmentally friendly choice, integrated into the main public service desk, youth service and reference areas. Even the exterior foam insulation is a renewable soy-based product. “The industry seems to be moving toward greener construction, and that’s probably a prudent thing to do with the volatility of petroleum and fuel sources,” Rochleau said. “Any efficiency gained will help in the long run.” Meanwhile as designs made their way to paper, the crumbled asphalt and demolished houses made their way to anywhere but the landfill. “All the houses we needed and wanted to demolish, even that process moved us toward getting LEED certified. We took all the salvageable materials to a salvage place and didn’t take anything, or much of anything, to the landfill,” Thoreson said. Recycling has also been one of the main burdens on the construction side of things. Instead of a single container headed for the landfill, waste is sorted into bins for metal, concrete, brick, wood and other materials and recycled either locally or elsewhere in the state, Rochleau said. Low or no maintenance landscaping materials are still being contemplated, Karrmann said, including grass that may only need to be mowed twice a year and will not require irrigation. One of the most prominent highlights of the new library is its lighting system, which includes an intelligent network of sensors that measure the amount of natural light coming in through windows — and bounced off light shelves to the middle of the building — and automatically adjust the amount of artificial lighting produced. “You will have a building that’s operational costs will be significantly less than they would have been for a code standard building,” Karrmann said. “Overall this might cost us a little bit extra, but it’s not that much,” Thoreson added. “In terms of future energy savings, it’s a small price to pay.” Another notable design characteristic is that bus routes will be revised to stop at the library and employees will find showers available at work, encouraging them to ride a bike in. And at least 2.5 percent of the building’s electricity will come from solar panels on the roof. Those panels will serve as a public learning tool, too, as curious library patrons will be able to monitor their performance at a computer station inside the library. “I’d like to let the community know in a very strong way that this is part of what we’re doing — and not just a boast about what we’re doing, but a kind of model and reminder to other people. ... If altogether we’re worried about the environment, that will make a big impact,” Thoreson said. Karrmann agrees. “One prime motivation of LEED is to transform the marketplace and encourage people to look at sustainability,” he said. “... With energy doing what it’s doing now, [LEED standards] are going to be the norm. ... A dozen years from now you may, if you build to code, be building a LEED-certified building.” ——— Contact Ryan Brinks at 641-753-6611 or

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